Broadway Golden Boy Hugh Jackman Slated to Leave Musical Oz Sept. 12

News   Broadway Golden Boy Hugh Jackman Slated to Leave Musical Oz Sept. 12
 
Hugh Jackman — the current star of The Boy From Oz — is slated to leave the musical Sept. 12. Producers are currently seeking a viable successor, according to a production spokesperson.

Tony host Hugh Jackman.
Tony host Hugh Jackman.

The mega-star, who has become one of Broadway's beloved leading men in his Broadway debut, will be seen in the popular show through the summer and just beyond Labor Day, but "what happens then?" remains the question. He had promised a year on Broadway and will have delivered by Sept. 12 (previews began Sept. 16, 2003).

Though his performance was given across-the-board raves, the musical itself was not a critical success. Lackluster reviews coupled with the decision to shut down the show when the busy star took days off for vacation and other committments (Tony Awards night included) have led many to question the show's future once Jackman's one-year contract expires.

Though production spokespersons would not confirm any possible successors, names such as Ricky Martin, Ewan MacGregor, Robert Downey, Jr. and Eric McCormack have been among those reported as possibilities for the role that requires the rare triple-threat talent.

"It is a brilliant showcase for somebody because you get to sing, dance and act," producer Ben Gennon told the Australian Associated Press, "and because Hugh does all three so brilliantly I think it has shown him in a whole new light in America that people were just not aware of before."

Jackman's bankability and charm have been proven: the show drew over $10 million in advance sales, attendance has rarely dipped below 90 percent and his curtain-call antics (strip teases and auctioned-off smooches) bolstered The Boy From Oz's contribution to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights (for both fundraising periods prior to the Gypsy of the Year and Easter Bonnet events) to a record-breaking $1,073,522. Jackman, who will again assume hosting duties for the Tony Awards, June 6, is considered a virtual lock for a nomination himself when they are announced May 10. Many pundits contend Jackman is a shoe-in for a victory in the Leading Actor in a Musical category.

Sydney-born Jackman began his stage career in his homeland, appearing in the Australian productions of Beauty and the Beast as Gaston and Sunset Boulevard as Joe Gillis before his Olivier Award-nominated turn in the London staging of Oklahoma! The actor is known to film audiences for his roles in the "X Men" films, "Kate & Leopold," "Swordfish" and the current film "Van Helsing."

The Boy from Oz is "a musical true story" of the late entertainer Peter Allen who was a protege of Judy Garland — and briefly married to her daughter Liza Minnelli. Martin Sherman (Bent) provides the libretto for the score which features the music and lyrics of the pop superstar.

The new musical, which performs on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre, began performances Sept. 16, 2003 and opened Oct. 16.

Philip Wm. McKinley directs the production featuring Jackman (as Peter Allen) and a cast that includes Stephanie J. Block, Beth Fowler, Isabel Keating, Jarrod Emick, Mitchel Federan and Michael Mulheren.

For tickets to The Boy From Oz at the Imperial, 249 West 45 Street, call (212) 239-6200 or click below. For more information, visit the show's website at www.theboyfromoz.com.

Jackman as Peter Allen in <i>The Boy From Oz</i>
Jackman as Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz Photo by Joan Marcus
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