Hugh Jackman to Host the 2014 Tony Awards, Sunday June 8, 2014

Hugh Jackman at the Tony AwardsOn June 8, 2014, Hugh Jackman will host the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.  This is the fourth time the Tony Award winning actor will host the event, previously having emceed the Tony’s in 2003, 2004, and 2005.

Jackman is a favorite among Broadway audiences, as proven by the stupendous box office success of his limited engagement one-man show Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway in 2011, as well as A Steady Rain in 2009 where he played opposite Daniel Craig.  He earned the 2003 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in The Boy from Oz, in which he performed for a year.  He was also recognized with a special Tony Award in 2012 for his work to raise money and awareness for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  He will appear on Broadway next season in Jez Butterworth’s play The River, with performances set to begin early 2015.

Jackman’s film credits include the role of Wolverine in the first installment of the X-Men Series, which he reprised in subsequent films X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.  In addition, he recently starred in Warner Bros’ 2013 film Prisoners, and he will also play Blackbeard in Warner Bros’ upcoming Pan.  In a more relevant role, he starred as Jean Valjean in the 2012 musical film adaptation of Les Misérables, for which he received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award.

2014 tony awardsIn 2005, Jackman received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for his role in hosting the 2004 Tony Awards, and he was nominated for the same honor in 2006 for his efforts in 2005.  In 2009, that specific Emmy Award was retired, and thus Jackman cannot expect to win it this year.  However, this past year, the 2012 Tony Awards broadcast did quite well, receiving five nominations at the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Special Class Program, Outstanding Music Direction, Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special, and Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.

Hugh Jackman at the Tonys in 2012.

In taking the mic for the fourth time, Jackman will be tied for having hosted the Tony Awards for the most number of times.  Neil Patrick Harris also hosted four times: in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013.  This year, however, Harris is starring in the title role of John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and will most likely join Jackman on stage as a nominee.

This is also the second year since the return of the Tony Awards to their long-time home at Radio City Music Hall.  For the two years prior, the Awards were relegated to the Beacon Theatre as Cirque du Soleil was occupying Radio City.  Award attendees were not pleased with the change in venue, as the Beacon was much smaller and required producers to limit their number of guests.  Thankfully, the event has now returned to its more spacious home, where it appears to stay.

The Tony Award nominations will be announced on April 29, 2014.  April 24, 2014 is the last day for Broadway shows to have their official opening and still be eligible for a nomination.  On June 8, 2014, the broadcast will air on CBS from 8:00 – 11:00 pm (live ET / delayed PT).

Hugh Jackman Cuts Ties With Broadway Bound Houdini

Hugh JackmanSome time ago it was announced that Hugh Jackman would be returning to Broadway in a new musical about legendary escape artist Harry Houdini, written specifically for Jackman. But following a protracted development process, Jackman has announced that he is dropping out of the project.

“I have greatly enjoyed the collaborative process on Houdini,” stated Hugh Jackman. “Ultimately, though, I wasn’t able to commit to the time this role will require. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the creative team and I wish everyone the best.”

Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) was originally attached to write Houdini‘s book, but he left the project last year and a new writer has not yet been named. Jack O’Brien is set to direct the production, which is currently expected to hit Broadway in the 2015-2016 season.

Les Miserables Movie Receives 8 Oscar Nominations

Les MiserablesThe new film version of the stage phenomenon Les Miserables, which opened to excellent box office on Christmas Day, fared well today on the awards level when the Academy Award nominations were announced this morning. Les Miserables nabbed a total of eight Oscar nominations, including the most coveted award, Best Picture.

The nominations that Les Miserables received were mostly as expected. The greatest amount of buzz has surrounded Hugh Jackman (as Jean Valjean) and Anne Hathaway (as Fantine), and they earned the movie musical’s only two acting nods, for Best Performance By a Leading Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

As a period piece, it’s not surprising that Les Miserables took nominations for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Given that it’s a musical, and one that notably used the unusual technique of live singing, it also is no surprise that it got a Best Sound Mixing nod.

Perhaps the biggest shoo-in for a nomination was composer/lyricist team Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Herbert Kretzmer for Best Original Song. As has become tradition for film musicals, the team especially wrote a number, “Suddenly” (sung by Hugh Jackman), for the movie, in the hopes of getting the Oscar nomination for original song — and they did.

Les Miserables Movie Tops Christmas Box Office

Les MiserablesBroadway musical theater fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the Hollywood box office grosses have revealed that the new Les Miserables movie had a very strong opening day. The 2nd highest ranking Christmas Day opening of all time, Les Miserables earned $18.1 million on its first day in movie theaters, drawing out holiday audiences eager to see Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe go head-to-head on the big screen. The film has also enjoyed a largely positive critical response, currently at 73% positive on RottenTomatoes.com.

While Broadway fans have flooded message boards with reviews of the movie adaptation of the beloved musical, the movie’s great box office performance can be counted as a plus for most Broadway fans whether they like Les Miz or not, because when a new Hollywood movie musical does well it bodes well for future film musicals. There is already buzz that Les Miz‘s success means there will soon be a screen adaptation of Miss Saigon, the other major musical success by Les Miz‘s songwriting team, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil.

Les Miserables Movie Opens Christmas Day

Les MiserablesFans of the worldwide sensation Les Miserables don’t have to wait one day more to finally see the much-anticipated movie version of the musical. Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and featuring an international all-star cast, Les Miserables opens nationwide in movie theaters today, and is likely to be a hit with the Christmas Day movie theater-going crowd who have gathered with their families for the holidays.

Based on the classic Victor Hugo novel that tells the stories of multiple characters during a period of revolution in 1800s France, Les Miserables was one of the great stage musical hits of the 1980s, becoming a huge success in London, on Broadway, and all across the globe. The long-awaited movie adaptation stars Hugh Jackman as convict-turned-philanthropist Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as his police inspector nemesis Javert. The film also stars Anne Hathaway (singing one of the musical’s signature numbers, “I Dreamed a Dream”), Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, and Broadway’s own Aaron Tveit (Next To Normal) in key roles.

As usual with movie musicals, which have been a Hollywood rarity for decades, the Broadway community will be eager to see how the Les Miserables film is received by the public at large because, if it does well, that will be considered a good omen for more Hollywood musicals.  Furthermore, many Broadway fans will be anxious to see whether or not the movie lives up to their expectations in its adaptation of the familiar and well-loved musical.

Once Takes Top Honors at the 2012 Tony Awards

Many Broadway shows were honored at the 2012 Tony Awards this past Sunday evening, but it was the musical Once, based on the Irish indie film of the same name, that received the most recognition, nabbing eight Tonys (including Best Musical and Best Leading Actor for Steve Kazee).

Little-show-that-could Peter and the Starcatcher won the second largest number of Tony Awards, taking a total of five Tonys, including Best Featured Actor in a Play for Christian Borle (now well-known to TV audiences for his role as a Broadway songwriter in the NBC series Smash).

Beloved Broadway actress Audra McDonald received her fifth Tony Award, this time for her acclaimed performance in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, which took the Best Musical Revival award.

The Best Play award went to the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park, while the Best Revival of a Play award went to the sell-out production of Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman (co-starring Andrew Garfield, star of the new Spider-man movie).

Newsies, the Disney film flop that has now become a popular Broadway show, won Best Score (for lyricist Jack Feldman and composer Alan Menken), as well as Best Choreography for Christopher Gattelli’s energetic dance moves.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, this year’s Tony Awards ceremony not only featured the presentation of the awards to this season’s winners, but also several musical performances (including a special performance by the cruise ship cast of Hairspray on the high seas) and special awards like one given to Hugh Jackman in recognition of the money he raised for charity while performing his solo show.