BWW Review: HUGH JACKMAN. THE MAN. Simply Sen.sa.tion.al At The Bowl!
Hugh Jackman: THE MAN. THE MUSIC. THE SHOW./directed & choreographed by Warren Carlyle/musical direction by Patrick Vaccariello/additional choreography by Ashley Wallen/Hollywood Bowl/reviewed on July 19, 2019
The extremely charismatic Hugh Jackman wowed the sold-out Hollywood Bowl crowd of 17,500 adoring and appreciative fans on the first of his two-night tour stop in Los Angeles! Utilizing his spectacular combo of sturdy vocals, fancy footwork and multi-watt charm, Jackman owned the Bowl stage, giving his all to connect and entertain in THE SHOW. More of a full-blown Broadway production than a one-man concert - with eye-popping, complementary video projections (by 4U2C and Woodroffe Bassett Design & Treament Ltd.), a troupe of eight dancers and two back-up singers, and the incredible Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by musical director Patrick Vaccariello. Jackman's between-song patter featured both smooth ad-libs and heartfelt, personal stories. Jackman certainly knows how to work his audience into a frenzy, hitting all emotions. Jackman personably interacted with the lucky fans in the front rows, performed a very funny, bicep-flexing "Gaston" from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, then switched gears completely to a loving ballad of "All The Way," the song he and Deborra-Lee Furness had their first wedding waltz to.
Jackman impressed with his uber-speed rendition of "I've Been Everywhere" (a loooong list of cities he's been, sung in a lightning, no-taking-a-breath pace). THE MUSIC. included songs from shows Jackman's made his indelible mark in - The Greatest Showman, Les Misérables, CAROUSEL, and, of course, the show that Jackman won the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for - THE BOY FROM OZ. Jackman imbues his strong acting chops into every number he takes on; especially effective, his alternately playful and serious take on Billy Bigelow's "Soliloquy" from CAROUSEL.
Keala Settle, Jackman's special guest for the Los Angeles engagement, demonstrated the very reason she won the star-making role of Lettie Lutz, the Bearded Lady in The Greatest Showman - singing "This Is Me."
Also featured in the Los Angeles shows, the collective, harmonic voices of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles richly backed Jackman's vocals on "You Will Be Found" from DEAR EVAN HANSEN, returning for the battle cry of "One Day More" from Les Misérables.
The powerful first act Les Misérables-medley finale also included the gorgeous tones of Jenna Lee James in "I Dreamed A Dream." James soloed again in the stunning presentation of "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman, featuring a most beautiful combination of modern dance and ASL signing. Bravo to the dancers for this - and all their wonderfully choreographed (by Warren Carlyle and Ashley Wallen), high-energy numbers - Mishay Petronelli, Jack Chambers, Alison Ingelstrom, Bronte Lavine, Zachary Downer, Redmand Rance, Kamille Upshaw and Zelig Williams. Another amazing attribute of Hugh Jackman - he dances full out with his dancers. The steps they do, he does - and no lip-syncing either. And, boy, can Jackman tap! Especially awe-inspiring - his and his dancers' sharp and nimble steppings in his medley of "Luck Be a Lady," "Singin' in the Rain," "I Got Rhythm," "Steppin' Out With My Baby" and "Sing Sing Sing."
Jackman opened the second act as Peter Allen, in a small taste of his Tony Award-winning role. Jackman as Allen playfully interacted with the audience, then covered "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," "Don't Cry Out Loud," "I Honestly Love You," and "Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage," before going all-out Vegas/Broadway production in "I Go to Rio." One of the many mic drops in THIS SHOW.
Jackman paid homage to his native Australia's Indigenous Australians in "Nomad Two World," with vocalists Olive Knight and Clifton Bieundurry, and didgeridoo players Paul Rider Boon and Nate Mundraby.
Whether decked out in Tom Ford finery or a well-fitted black tee, Jackman's prowess as a total showman shines through. THE MAN sings, acts, dances. THE MAN's funny. He's genuine. He remembers all his fellow castmembers' names. He's always entertaining! THE MAN's a hot ticket to get, but more than worth it if you get a chance in one of the cities left on his international tour.
For any available tickets for Saturday July 20th performance, log onto www.hollywoodbowl.com
For future cities and tour schedule through October 20, 2019; log onto www.hughjackmantheshow.com