Hugh Jackman debuts one-man show in Toronto
Hugh Jackman performs during opening night of 'Hugh Jackman in Concert' at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, Tuesday, July 5, 2011.
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, July 6, 2011 8:43AM EDT
TORONTO - It was a family affair as stage and screen star Hugh Jackman debuted his one-man song-and-dance show in Toronto Tuesday.
The affable Aussie actor performed a surprise serenade for his actress wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, as she sat in the audience during opening night of "Hugh Jackman in Concert" at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
"She said: 'I'm going to kill you for this,"' he told the gushing crowd after he sang "The Way You Look Tonight" to Furness and then pulled her out of the audience to give her a big smooch in the aisle.
"I have so much lip gloss on my lips, baby it kind of feels good," he later joked as he hopped back onstage.
Jackman's 11-year-old son, Oscar, was also at the show, playing didgeridoo onstage in a musical tribute to Jackman's native Australia and its Aboriginal people.
The "X-Men" star, who sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" during the tribute, told the audience it was Oscar's first time onstage and then kissed him on the cheek.
Jackman also got sentimental as he performed his closing number, "Once Before I Go" from the Australian musical "The Boy From Oz," which earned him a Tony Award for his role as 1970s singer-songwriter Peter Allen.
"That snuck up on me," the 42-year-old Sydney-born star said as he got choked up and teary-eyed during the tune.
Jackman best known for his role as Wolverine in the "X-Men" film franchise performed for nearly two hours without an intermission on opening night of the show, which plays through July 17 in the city.
Backed by an 18-piece orchestra and two female singers, he sang a wide range of his favourite musical numbers, from "Mack the Knife" to "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" and "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty."
"All you Wolverine fans who got dragged here tonight, you just passed musical theatre 101," he quipped.
Between tunes, Jackman told stories about his life and career. Furness, he explained, wasn't impressed when she first read the script for his part as Wolverine in "X-Men."
"She thought it was ridiculous," he said, noting he had to audition for the part seven times while he was starring in "Oklahoma!" in London.
"It's the only time in 14 years of marriage that my wife has ever been wrong," he added with a laugh.
Jackman also pulled out some impressive dance moves (the groin shakes and hip thrusts really had the crowd going), played audio and video clips, showed photos and interacted with the crowd.
At one point Jackman pulled an embarrassed male audience member onstage and made him bust a few moves and grooves for everyone.
"I'm so excited to be here in Toronto, Canada," said Jackman, who's hosted the Oscars and the Tonys and was named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive in 2008.
"Hugh Jackman in Concert" is in Toronto after a sold out, critically hailed debut run in San Francisco in May.
The magnetic Hollywood heavyweight signed on to do the show after filming for "Wolverine" for which he's in strapping shape right now was postponed. He had just two months to put the production together from scratch.
In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, Jackman said he wanted Toronto to be the show's second stop because he knew it was a great theatre town, having shot his first American film, 2000's "X-Men," here.
He also admitted that when he started creating the show, he was "a little intimidated" to bring it to Toronto straight away because it was still a work in progress.
At Tuesday's opening, Jackman showed no signs of intimidation, tearing through strenuous sets with apparent ease and panache.
For most of the show he was decked out in a slick dark suit. At one point he whipped off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves as the audience squealed in approval.
Jackman also donned a sequined blouse that was unbuttoned and tied up in the front as he performed as Peter Allen the role that marked Jackman's Broadway debut.
"You know what I love best about Canada? The mounted police," joked Jackman while he was performing as the flamboyant Allen.
Jackman's upcoming projects include the Steven Spielberg-produced film "Real Steel," which co-stars Canadian actress Evangeline Lilly and is due out in October.