As a singer, he's good but not fantastic. When he dances, he won't make you forget Astaire or Kelly. And when he acts, it's usually his chest that makes the biggest impression. But something magical happens when he does all three: Suddenly a charming, spirited, skillful, loving showman is sweeping us off our feet. And he knows exactly how to calibrate his revue's two main food groups: beefcake and cheese.
HUGH JACKMAN, BACK ON BROADWAY Broadway Reviews
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It is this section that shows off his terrific dancing, his crazy-feet tapping, his ability to hover in the air and devour the expanse of the stage with dazzling insouciance. His tangy -- if occasionally pitch-wobbly -- voice can linger a bit monotonously in heady nasality these days.But when the nightclub routines stop and he sings a ravishing "Soliloquy" from "Carousel," he reminds us of the theater artist we really want back.
Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, a one-man show where branding and bonhomie fuse in a martini shaker of old-fashioned showmanship, and the Troy McClure absurdity would overwhelm us if the man were one iota less impressive. By the end of the night, you're ready to buy just about anything off Hugh: Amway, The Brooklyn Bridge, Berlusconi futures. SNIKT! You're sold. It's nearly impossible to emerge from the Jackman corona with anything other than the impression that you've just spent an evening not just with great talent but also with a great pal.
He makes no claims to being the world's greatest singer or dancer. Jackman's voice leans toward the nasal side at times, but he compensates with tremendous power. And while his dance moves stick within a limited range, his energy and limberness go far beyond. Basically, he sells it, which in the age of the techno-spectacle, is something rare and magnetic. It's obvious that he's having a blast up there, and his enjoyment is contagious.
There are definitely better singers, finer actors, and more-accomplished dancers out there than Hugh Jackman. There are even bigger stars. But I'm hard-pressed to think of anyone else in show business today who can levitate an audience the way Jackman is doing right now in his not-exactly-one-man musical show at the Broadhurst Theatre. Combine his potent triple-threat capabilities with unstinting charisma and bottomless geniality and the result is one of the most memorable performers ever to grace a Broadway stage in my lifetime.
There's no getting around it: Hugh Jackman is the ultimate entertainer. Backed by an 18-piece orchestra and some very attractive back-up singers, he puts the rest of Broadway to shame in his extremely polished and thoroughly enjoyable song-and-dance show. Nay, let's call it a one-man spectacular.
Such a spirit clearly has informed Jackman, a musical-theater geek at heart who was lucky enough to become such a massive movie star that he has a heft that's currently peerless in the Broadway landscape. And he knows how to play it like no one else. Theater people love him because, unlike most movie stars, he can really perform the "Rock Island" patter from "The Music Man" and sing "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," which opens his show. And the rest of the globe has not only heard of him, it regards him as as alpha a Hollywood male as ever roared.
Anyone can memorize classic songs and great lines but it's in the delivery that separates the man from the boys. Hugh Jackman is an absolute superstar. Even his adlibbed banter with the audience was hysterical. You really have to ask - is there anything he can't do. He acts, sings and dances with utter mastery. I wonder if he does dishes... preferably mine!
The impossibly talented, impossibly energetic Mr. Jackman is a glorious dinosaur among live entertainers of the 21st century: an honest-to-gosh old-fashioned matinee idol who connects to his audiences without a hint of contempt for them or for himself. A movie star with a major action franchise (as Wolverine in the "X-Men" series), Mr. Jackman says he's happiest as a song-and-dance man, the kind who conducts mass flirtation with a wink, a wriggle, a firmly handled melody and maybe a cane and some tap shoes.
3 out of four. There are endearing twists, as well - an aboriginal-themed Over the Rainbow, a reworking of a rhythmic spoken-word sequence from The Music Man as a campy hip-hop number. If Jackman knows how to please a crowd, he can also take it in unexpected directions, with seductive enthusiasm.
His voice is like the show - strong and sweet, but not terribly enlightening. His song interpretations are decidedly run-of-the-mill, straight down the middle, but nice. He works hard, stripping off his suit coat and then rolling up his sleeves, sweat stains visible. By the end, he's thanking his orchestra, high-fiving members of the audience and getting a standing ovation. And he still sparkles.
Essentially a Las Vegas revue with a superb 18-piece orchestra, the show ranges from "On Broadway" mashed up with "Lullabye of Broadway" to "Over the Rainbow," each greeted with roars of approval.
While it's very enjoyable, it's also by-the-numbers. But with his irresistible Australian grin, touchy-feely affability and snug pants, he holds the audience tight in this production staged and choreographed by Warren Carlyle.
There are movie stars, and there are all-around entertainers. On the evidence of Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway, a Vegas-style one-man show, Hugh Jackman is definitely the latter. Not since Liza Minnelli's Liza's at the Palace nearly three years ago have we seen such command of the stage and repertoire by a solo artist. The comparison seems fitting since Jackman's first appearance on the New York stage was his Tony-winning turn as Minnelli's late husband, the gay Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen, in 2003's The Boy From Oz.
There must be people somewhere who don't enjoy Hugh Jackman, but if so, I don't want to meet them. What more could a person reasonably want than this twinklingly studly Aussie showman, who seems as comfy tapping through a medley as clawing his way through the Wolverine franchise? In his blazing new concert, Jackman is his own special effect: a musical-theater superhero swooping in just in time to rescue Broadway from its seasonal doldrums.
Superlatives are superfluous regarding "Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway," which the song-and-dance man-turned-movie star has brought to the Broadhurst for 10 weeks. Jackman could at this point likely sell out any show on sheer force of celebrity, but as it turns out, his vehicle is up to his talents. The evening, seemingly assembled out of the star's grab-bag of song favorites, demands Jackman's all, and he surpasses expectations.
Opening with "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," Jackman expertly cavorts through several tuneful medleys, most notably a high-kicking salute to classic movie musicals. A freely-interpreted "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and a resonant journey through Billy Bigelow's "Soliloquy" from "Carousel" are other standouts, while a segment involving the Australian outback and its native musicians offers a soulful change in mood.
The show's best moments, for me, were when Jackman simply sang an entire number. With his ability to honor a song as written, yet also interpret it in his own style, he did a haunting version of "Tenterfield Saddler," a quiet number Allen wrote about his heritage, and a compelling "Soliloquy," from "Carousel."