The Boy From Oz Opens in Japan June 10; Australia and London Runs in Talks for 2006

News   The Boy From Oz Opens in Japan June 10; Australia and London Runs in Talks for 2006 Original Broadway director Philip Wm. McKinley and choreographer Joey McKneely reteam on a Tokyo production of the Peter Allen-focused musical, The Boy From Oz, set to open June 10 with a Japanese cast.
Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz
Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz Photo by Joan Marcus

Masayuki Sakamoto, 33, the lead singer in Japan's hottest boy band, plays the lead role of Allen.

McKinley has said in interviews that the play will be a revelation to audiences. "They have never heard of Peter Allen or Judy Garland or Liza Minnelli, so this show is like an introduction."

An Australian production is under discussion for a possible June 2006 run with a London staging also in talks for a 2006 berth.

The original Australian production opened March 5, 1998, at Her Majesty's Theatre Sydney and ran for two years.

Gannon then presented the Broadway run with producer Robert Fox. The Boy From Oz ended its year-long stint on Broadway with star Hugh Jackman Sept. 12, 2004 after playing 32 previews and 365 regular performances. Set in bars, nightclubs and concerts across the globe, including Allen's homeland of Australia, The Boy from Oz is "a musical true story" of the late entertainer Peter Allen who was a protege of Judy Garland, and was briefly married to her daughter Liza Minnelli. Allen died of complications from AIDS in 1992.

Allen narrates his life story, talking directly to the audience, and often interacting with the actor who plays the child Peter. The production recreates Allen's early successes in Australia and Hong Kong as part of the act, The Allen Brothers. The second act finds Allen at some of his more famous engagements at the clubs Reno Sweeney and Copacabana as well as the singer's famous sold-out stint at Radio City Music Hall.

The show earned Broadway newcomer Jackman a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. The star bolstered the show to over $10 million in advance sales, new Imperial Theatre box office records and a recoupment of its initial capitalization of $8.25 million. No official word has been announced on whether Jackman will be returning to the role for future productions.

The show was recorded for posterity Oct. 20, 2003, by Decca Broadway, with producer Phil Ramone. The original cast recording of The Boy From Oz was then released Nov. 18, 2003.

Philip Wm. McKinley directed the Broadway musical with choreography provided by Joey McKneely. Patrick Vaccariello served as music director. Orchestrations are by Michael Gibson. Martin Sherman penned the new book for Broadway. Nick Enright is credited with the original book.

Allen's collaborating songwriters represented in the score include Adrienne Anderson, Burt Bacharach, Jeff Barry, Michael Callen, Christopher Cross, Tom Keane, Marsha Malamet, Dean Pitchford and Carol Bayer Sager.

For more information, visit the show's website at www.theboyfromoz.com.