HUGH JACKMAN

STEPHANIE J. BLOCK • BETH FOWLER • ISABEL KEATING

JARROD EMICK • MITCHEL DAVID FEDERAN • MICHAEL MULHEREN

 

PETER ALLEN

Peter Allen takes center stage and starts telling the audience about his life. Since his childhood he wished to be an entertainer and so he begins his career at the local pub of his hometown; later, as a teenager, he becomes part of a singing duo who acted for the local television and, after a small sex scandal, he’s on tour. Stopping in Hong Kong he meets and befriends Judy Garland. She takes him to New York as her open act and there he falls in love with Liza Minnelli,with whom he marries.Liza’s career is in full blown but Peter’s isn’tgoing anywhere. Suddenly Judy dies and Liza, tired of knowing that Peter has sexual affairs with men, decides to leave him.

Accepting his own sexuality, Peter meets Greg, who becomes the love of his life; together they changed his image, making it much more colorful and sexual. With the help of a rich manager, Peter becomes the star he always dreamed and the toast of the town. But happiness doesn’t last long, Greg dies with AIDS and Peter himself is a victim of that epidemic. After a Broadway failure, with the help of Liza, whose friendship never died, Peter gives his last concert in Australia and goes with a bang.

THE SHOW

It’s true, in pure Peter Allen style, this show is corny and kitsch, but it’s also a guilty pleasure.

Some people argued that some of the real facts weren’t exactly like they are shown in the play and that others happened in different order. But to tell you the truth, who cares? This is pure show business and the essence and art of Peter is all here.

Director McKinley didn’t turn this into a big musical extravaganza, with great sets, costumes, effects or breathtaking choreography (McKneely musical numbers are simple but enjoyable). No, he preferred to let his cast shine and that it does. Isabel Keating sounds and looks uncanny like Judy and Stephanie J. Block’s Liza, although not a match image of the real Liza, caught her mannerisms and energy. Beth Flower is highly convincing as Peter’s mother, Mitchel David Federan is a revelation as the young Peter and Jarrod Emick is a sweet Greg (it’s a pity his character don’t sing more).

HUGH JACKMAN

And now the big question. Would there be any Broadway production of this musical if it wasn’t for Hugh Jackman? The answer is no and it was proofed with the fact that the show closed temporarily during his holidays and for good when he left it. So what about Jackman?

Well, for someone like me, who had the pleasure of seeing him in the London production of OKLAHOMA!, it wasn’t a big surprise that he could sing, dance and act. The big difference is that this time the all show was built around him and he takes it in his shoulders with brilliance and a performance that will become legendary. He feels the stage and the entire theatre with love, joy, humor and an interminable energy. He has the power of making the entire audience fell in love with him and make us believe he feels the same way about us. He’s simply amazing and I’m sure that if Peter Allen was alive he would feel very proud of him.

The ads call it “the musical of a lifetime”, but what this is is a performance of a lifetime. Hugh Jackman gives it all and deserves all the success and attention he is having. Like Peter was several years ago, now it’s Hugh who is the toast of the town and his star shines bright on Broadway.

Music and Lyrics by Peter Allen

Book  by
Martin Sherman

Choreography by
Joey McKneely

Directed by Philip Wm. McKinley

Photos © Joan Marcus            Rated by Jorge: +++