A WORLD TOUR HEADLINED BY ONE OF THE PLANET’S MOST TALENTED AND MULTIFACETED PERFORMERS HEADS TO NEWARK
BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI
Hile Broadway waits breathlessly for showman Hugh Jackman to don the bandleader duds of Professor Harold Hill and bring his version of The Music Man to the Great White Way next year, audiences are enjoying the Academy Award nominee’s current tour, filled with the song and dance numbers he is increasingly famed for.
The 90 city arena tour began earlier this year in Europe, landed in the U.S. in June, then traveled to Jackman’s native Australia in August for performances there and in New Zealand. September brings him to Boston, Philadelphia, and Long Island before arriving at the Prudential Center for his October 6 performance.
The 50 year old’s role as P.T. Barnum in 2017’s The Greatest Showman helped boost that film’s soundtrack to record breaking sales levels. Those tunes, as well as selections from Jackman projects Les Miserables, The Boy From Oz, and others are part of his stage show, which includes a live orchestra.
Broadway actress Keala Settle, who portrayed the Bearded Lady in The Greatest Showman and delivered the hit, “This is Me,” is Jackman’s special guest for his final 12 performances, including the one at the Prudential Center.
Numerous critics have praised the show and particularly Jackman’s energetic performance, one calling it “the sort of old fashioned, high glamour evening of Hollywood spectacle that was once common on stage and screen, but is rarely produced at this level today.” Others pronounced it “engaging” and “consistently uplifting.”
Even before The Music Man opens on Broadway at the Shubert Theater in September of next year, Jackman is being heralded as an ideal fit for the iconic role of the fast talking conman, Hill (originated by beloved song and dance man Robert Preston), while Sutton Foster will play Marion the Librarian in the 1957 classic, its music and lyrics written by Meredith Wilson. This will be a full circle experience for Jackman, who has said in an interview that The Music Man was his first exposure to musical theatre in high school. At the 2014 Tony Awards, he even rapped the play’s lyrics alongside T.I. and LL Cool J.