Hugh Jackman is making his triumphant return to Broadway this fall in Jez Butterworth’s The River. Jackman started his career on the stage but has performed on Broadway only a number of times. After playing Wolverine in the X-Men movies, and numerous spin-offs, Jackman has experienced a very successful film career, but states that the stage was his first love. The River will open in previews on October 31st and officially in mid-November. It has been three years since Hugh Jackman performed on Broadway and his return is very much welcomed.
The River is a story about a fisherman living in the woods who invites a woman over to his cabin. He immediately falls in love with the woman, telling her many times, as the two spend time together fishing and living. That is until a second woman from the man’s past shows up and complicates things not only for the trio, but for the fisherman’s psyche as well. The River will be performed at the Circle in Square Theatre. The theatre is a very small venue, holding under 800 people and the stage is almost completely circumvented by the crowd, creating a very intimate setting; the theatre has also said each show will sell some tickets at a cost of only 35 dollars, which is a huge premium for such a performance.
The play is Jez Butterworth’s first since his acclaimed Jerusalem. Starring opposite the X-Men star is Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo. Making his return, Jackman last appeared on stage in, Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway in 2011, which was sold out every night, and was an intimate engagement with the movie star, where he performed many of his favorite song and dance routines as well as told stories from his life. Jackman was also in The Boy from Oz in 2003 and stared opposite Daniel Craig in A Steady Rain back in 2009.
The River is not the only news for the Wolverine star. Jackman will also be the host of the Tony’s on June 8. It will be the third time that Jackman has hosted the telecast and he says he is very anxious to get started. He is currently promoting his new movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, but will wrap up shortly and start preparations for the Tony’s immediately after. Jackman compared the Tony’s to a championship of proffessional sports, citing it is the top and he wants to perform as best he can knowing he only gets one chance to impress the audience. When asked if his Wolverine character will make an appearance, Jackman smirked but said he highly doubts it.
The Tony’s crowd has always been very receptive to its hosts and Jackman being a veteran should mean he will have no problems. It will be a busy year for the movie star off camera as he is filming two movies to be released in 2015 (Chappie and Pan) and will be on stage for the later part of the year, as well as hosting the Tony’s on June 8th. For fans of Hugh Jackman and those of the New York Broadway scene, his return is very welcome news as the 45-year-old actor is regarded as one of the best performers of his generation.
Commentary by Chris Dragicevich