Beloved star of stage and screen Hugh Jackman today announced a national concert tour of his new show Broadway to Oz in arenas in November and December. The show, which is an “arena spectacular” version of his sell-out 2011 one-man Broadway show Back on Broadway, will feature 150 singers, dancers and musicians.
At a glitzy media event launching the tour this morning, Jackman performed Peter Allen’s hit I Still Call Australia Home, backed by the Australian Girls Choir. Jackman said he always intended to bring the show to Australia, but that film commitments,including as Les Miserables and Wolverine, made scheduling difficult.
“The endgame for me was being here. It just took a little longer than I thought,” he said.
Jackman’s last major performances in Australia were as Peter Allen in an arena version of The Boy From Oz in 2006, the role for which he won a Tony Award just two years earlier.
Broadway to Oz is not just a concert and sees Jackman reveal intimate stories from his life and career. The show will feature songs from Les Miserables and The Boy From Oz, as well as Jackman’s favourite hits from stage and movie musicals, including Singin’ in the Rain and Soliloquy from Carousel, which he first performed as a rising star at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2002.
“Whether you like it or not, I’ll be dancing,” Jackman promises. “I’ll be dancing more than I ever have before.”
He says that no two shows will be the same, and that he welcomes hecklers — and Australians are apparently excellent hecklers — to keep things fresh. There will also likely be some special guests, as well as his regular cast of performers.
“There’s some unbelievable Aussie talent out there and I’m really excited to showcase that,” he said.
But despite the epic scale of the show, Jackman says he wants it to have an intimate feeling and will be using a satellite stage and long catwalk down the centre of each arena so he can get amongst the audiences.
“I spent all my childhood in Sydney and I used to go to the Sydney Entertainment Centre,” Jackman says, “and most of the time I could only afford to sit up the back, so I know what it’s like to be up the back of an arena and it’s always been really important to me that every single person in whatever theatre, stage, press conference, arena, that they all feel that I’m speaking directly to them.”
The tickets are also priced relatively affordably for an arena tour, between $45 and $160.
In a poignant coincidence, Jackman will be one of the last acts to perform at the Sydney Entertainment Centre (now Qantas Credit Union Arena) before it is demolished at the end of the year. Peter Allen famously opened the centre in 1983 with a now legendary performance of I Still Call Australia Home.
Jackman says that he remembers watching that performance on TV as a child, and that it was one of the first times he had ever seen his father cry. The song will be included on Jackman’s set list.
Melbourne: Tuesday 24 & Wednesday 25 November, Rod Laver Arena
Sydney: Monday 30 November & Tuesday 1 December, Qantas Credit Union Arena
Brisbane: Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 December, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Adelaide: Thursday 10th December, Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Perth: Tuesday 15th December, Perth Arena