From the Desk of Artistic Director Jonathan Pell

by Megan Meister

New York City Auditions, Day 4

After a final day of New York auditions, a disappointing day in which I heard forty more singers, only a few of whom were interesting and none who caused my heart to beat faster, I had a transcendent theatrical experience this evening.

I went to see Hugh Jackman in his all- talking, all-singing, all-dancing Broadway show.  I have had the great good fortune to see quite a few of the great entertainers of the past fifty years “live” —people like Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler (I even got to hear the Beatles once at a dress rehearsal for the Ed Sullivan Show) but I have to put Hugh Jackman right at the top of the list.

I have never experienced anyone who exuded that much charm and energy, which he employs at the service of his prodigious talent as a singer, dancer and raconteur.

The sheer exuberance of his performance and the obvious pleasure that he derives from getting up in front of 1,200 people night after night is dazzling to behold.  If you have only seen him as “Wolverine” you have no idea.  His hosting stint at the Academy Award Ceremony a couple of years ago merely hinted at what he could do.

This production is an object lesson in how to put together a show, which is really nothing more than a glorified cabaret act, but which is more entertaining than almost anything else I have seen recently on Broadway.  The producers have brought in top designers, including Tony Award winners John Lee Beatty, William Ivey Long and Ken Billington for sets, costumes and lighting, respectively (Ken has lit many shows over the years for the Dallas Opera, most recently our production of PORGY AND BESS) but Hugh Jackman could probably have done this show on a bare stage in street clothes with a flashlight.

Anyone who has an interest in musical theatre should try to see this show.  It is almost half way through its ten week limited run.  Go if you can—that is, if you can get a ticket!

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