Once Before I Go: The Boy From Oz to Close on Broadway When Jackman Leaves, Sept. 12

News   Once Before I Go: The Boy From Oz to Close on Broadway When Jackman Leaves, Sept. 12 The musical The Boy From Oz will close on Broadway Sept. 12 when its Tony Award winning star Hugh Jackman and the cast's contracts expires, confirmed a production spokesperson.
Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz.
Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz. Photo by Joan Marcus

The show — which just pulled in its highest grossing week ever (for the eight performances through June 20), setting a house record at the Imperial Theatre with a net gross of $982,845.37 — will not seek to recast the star.

Previews began Sept. 16, 2003, for the "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) provided the libretto for the score which features the music and lyrics of the pop superstar. The new musical opened Oct. 16.

The Tony win (thought a sure thing by most pundits) solidified the actor as one of Broadway's most beloved leading men in his Broadway debut. 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) 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 were among those whispered 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 previously 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.

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."

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.

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