Many of the earth’s residents know Hugh Jackman as a big-screen motion hero and romantic main man—a film star like they used to make them. However as he confessed to the viewers throughout his 2011 one-man present Hugh Jackman: Again on Broadway, “I sort of like being onstage singing and dancing a little bit extra.” Now, Jackman is as soon as once more again on Broadway, starring in a bliss-inducing revival of The Music Man, Meredith Willson’s wry and tuneful fable a few touring flimflam man who meets his Waterloo and the love of his life in small-town Iowa.
As we slog by the winter of our discontent into yr three of the pandemic, we want just a little Hugh Jackman—to not point out his incandescent costar Sutton Foster—to banish our cares. And this gleamingly produced, unapologetically old school, feel-good musical comedy is simply the ticket. It’s additionally a job that Jackman has needed to play for years, and he describes the exhilaration of performing once more for a stay viewers as “like being shot out of a cannon.”
An instantaneous smash when it opened on Broadway in 1957, The Music Man was a deliberate throwback to a vanished period. Set in 1912, with e-book, music, and lyrics by Willson, it was the creator’s valentine to his residence city of Mason Metropolis, Iowa (renamed River Metropolis within the present), and to the all-American music that he performed as a younger flutist in John Philip Sousa’s marching band. It follows the exploits of “Professor” Harold Hill (Jackman), a con man posing as a touring salesman, who drops into city to promote the locals on the thought of a boys’ marching band—together with the required uniforms and devices—by exploiting their optimism, vainness, ignorance, and worry (on this case of the corrupting affect of pool enjoying). The city’s sharp-tongued, resolutely single librarian and music instructor Marian (Foster) spurns Hill’s advances and sees by his ruse. However they find yourself falling for one another, and Hill offers up his swindling, vagabond methods to calm down together with her and manage the boys into an actual, if horrible, marching band.
Willson famously wrote greater than 30 drafts of the present over eight years earlier than The Music Man made it to Broadway. However, with such numbers as “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Ya Obtained Bother,” and “Until There Was You,” the present received 5 Tony Awards, beating out West Facet Story for greatest musical, and making its lead, Robert Preston, a star. Preston went on to reprise the position in a 1962 movie model, and the present has since been revived with Dick Van Dyke and Craig Bierko, been become a TV film with Matthew Broderick, and carried out, with various levels of talent, at numerous excessive faculties throughout the nation.
Jackman, once we communicate, appears to have studied The Music Man with the exactitude of a Shakespearean scholar, and which may be as a result of he made his stage debut in a manufacturing of the present at his all-boys highschool in Sydney. (It was an opportunity, he says, to satisfy women.) “I used to be Salesman Quantity 2,” Jackman tells me. After a pause, he provides, stoically, “David Anderson was Harold Hill.” I jokingly ask, “Yeah, however the place is he now?” and Jackman tells me that he went on to develop into prime minister of Australia. For a second, largely due to his flawless deadpan and my hazy information of Australian politics, I consider him. No matter Jackman might have lacked vis-à-vis a younger David Anderson, by the point he received forged in Trevor Nunn’s 1998 revival of Oklahoma! at London’s Royal Nationwide Theatre, he had clearly upped his sport. With solely main roles in Melbourne productions of Magnificence and the Beast and Sundown Boulevard beneath his belt, Jackman gave a star-making efficiency, establishing himself as a one-of-a-kind musical-theater actor within the classical custom, who nonetheless felt utterly of the second, with seemingly easy charisma and a touch of mischief. As The Music Man’s choreographer, Warren Carlyle, remembers: “From the primary minute of Oklahoma!, it was clear that he was born to be on the stage. He fills that house like no person else.”
And but, Jackman’s musical appearances on the boards have been restricted—it turned out that his star high quality translated to the display screen (and the field workplace), as he has demonstrated in no unsure phrases, beginning together with his feral flip as Wolverine in 2000’s X-Males, and its numerous sequels. He received a 2003 Tony for his high-wattage portrayal of the Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz and cemented his status as the best song-and-dance man of his technology together with his 2011 one-man present, which he revamped and took on a world tour in 2019. However in any other case, Jackman’s musical comedy profession has been largely speculative: He’s been hooked up to numerous stage musical tasks that by no means got here to go, notably one in regards to the lifetime of Houdini, and it’s appeared as if each announcement of a brand new manufacturing got here with a not-so-veiled trace that Jackman could be its star. Via all of it, individuals saved telling him that Harold Hill was the proper position for him, and he saved brushing the thought apart. Then, one morning a couple of years in the past, he says, “I awakened and was actually like, Why haven’t I carried out The Music Man? And so I rang my agent, and he’d simply had a name that day about it. And so it type of felt as if it have been meant to be…. Now, I’m just a little mad at myself for placing it off so lengthy.”