January 1, 2012

Hugh Jackman shatters records with Broadway show

Actor Hugh Jackman gets into the Tennessee spirit before a screening of his new movie 'Real Steel' in Knoxville, Tenn.

Hugh Jackman has left Broadway with a lot of broken hearts -- and records.

The hunky Australian actor's one-man Broadway concert show closed on Sunday afternoon at the Broadhurst Theatre after having earned $2,057,354 in its final week, the highest weekly gross recorded by the Shubert Organization, which owns the Broadhurst and 16 other Broadway theatres. Over its 10-week run, Jackman earned a whopping $14,638,428, producers said.

Jackman, best known for being the hairy Wolverine in "The X-Men" franchise, routinely sold out the 1,176-seat theatre and usually posted weekly grosses of $1.5 million, often higher than rival musicals such as "Jersey Boys," "Mama Mia!" "How to Succeed in Business," "Anything Goes" and "Follies."

Only "Wicked" and "The Lion King," produced by other organizations, consistently outdid Jackman. But those shows also had much higher overhead costs.

The previous record at the Broadhurst was held by the Al Pacino-led "The Merchant of Venice," which took in $1,175,750 earlier this year. Until now, the Shubert Organization's one-week biggest haul was "Billy Elliot," which earned $1,663,895 during an eight-show stretch last year.

During the run, Jackman raised a record $1,789,580 for the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The run "not only confirms him as one of the most bankable stars in Broadway's history but also as a fundraiser," producer Robert Fox said.

Backed by an 18-piece orchestra and six leggy dancers, a charming Jackman belted out about two dozen musical theatre songs in "Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway." It was his third time on the Great White Way, following "The Boy From Oz" in 2003 and the play "A Steady Rain" with Daniel Craig in 2009.

The show featured his interpretations of songs ranging from the sexy R&B tune "Fever" to "Rock Island," from "The Music Man" to a medley of classic movie songs such as "Singin' in the Rain" and "Luck Be a Lady." The average ticket went for $160, with top premiums going for $350.

Some of the highlights included the eight-minute "Soliloquy" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Carousel," and a collection of songs from his Tony Award-winning turn in "The Boy From Oz" while wearing Peter Allen-inspired matching gold lame pants and jacket, and gold shoes.

Jackman's other stage credits include Australian productions of "Sunset Boulevard" and "Beauty and the Beast." In London he starred as Curly in Trevor Nunn's staging of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" Next year, he plans to star in a version of the musical "Les Miserables."

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