The Boy From Oz

The Boy From Oz

RATING: halfstar.gif - 887 Bytes

Reviewed: May 2004

        I saw this back in November, when it was pretty new. Despite lukewarm reviews, it was tough to get tickets. Probably because it was Hugh Jackman! But a friend and I managed to snag a couple. Not great seats, but okay. (Last row in orchestra, which meant we could stand up in order to see the stage.)

        And I really liked it. The first half was a little slow, and it was perhaps a little corny and predictable, but Hugh Jackman really sold it. I was never that much of a Jackman fan, but he was great. I think he was better as Peter Allen than as Wolverine. He's got so much stage presence and charisma that it's kind of a surprise to listen to the soundtrack CD and realize that his voice is only mediocre. It sure doesn't seem that way when you're in the theater.

        The rest of the cast is quite good, too. The actors who played Judy Garland and Liza Minelli were uncanny! The kid who played young Peter was amazing. (And I usually don't like kids, even if they're properly cooked.) My friend was surprised and pleased to see Jarrod Emick as Peter's true love, Greg Connell. She saw him as Jerry in the West End production of The Full Monty, a very different role, and was impressed with his range.

        Speaking of Greg...the romance between Peter and Greg was very sweet, and very understated. The high point actually occurred after Greg's death, when his ghost sings, "I Honestly Love You" to Peter, who can only vaguely sense his presence. I can't stand that song when Olivia Neutron-Bomb sings it, but I loved it here.

        Frankly, I wasn't expecting much, since I wasn't really a Jackman fan. And I'm not big on this type of musical. (The kind where they don't write any songs for the show, they just recycle a single artist's work.) I didn't know who Peter Allen was, either. But I recognized several of the songs once the show started. And Jackman was terrific. Very entertaining evening.

        And just a tip, for those Broadway boosters who've wondering how to get more people in the about renovating them? The floors aren't canted enough, and the seats aren't staggered so that you can see between people's heads. Instead, you're often sitting directly behind someone. If that person is tall (heck, even if they aren't), your view is blocked. It's outrageous to expect people to pay $100 to watch the back of someone's head all night.

Related Links:

The Boy From Oz - the official Web site