Hugh Jackman honors his entire life throughout the show. He tells wonderful stories about his Dad, his wife, his kids. The love he has for his homeland is quite admirable. Clearly, he understands the deep and painful history that is Australia. He honors the Aborigines by bringing their story to the stage and having four of them perform. The drop down screen shows different photos of life in the outback. Gorgeous. He understands the throughline from where he comes from, not just his own personal history, but performance history, too. He knows that he didn't just show up, spit out from a black hole. He honors the great movie stars of yesteryear that he watched on television in Australia. He gives the spotlight to each of the people in his cast and orchestra. He and his team put together a wonderful show.
If that's not enough, Hugh Jackman does an exemplary job raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. He auctions off his sweaty undershirt to the highest bidder. At our performance, he raised $7000.00 for two. He then offered to take photos with anyone who would spend $2000.00 to BC/EFA. The line was very long. He must have spent a half an hour after the matinee taking photos with another show in three hours . He must have raised upwards of $40,000.00. That's amazing! Within the Broadway community, they have a friendly rivalry to see who raises the most during the fundraising campaign. With a largely one man show, I can't imagine anyone raising more.
My friend who arranged the afternoon, surprised us and arranged for us to go backstage and meet him briefly. We didn't have to pay the $2000.00. He hugged and kissed us all. Gracious. Not rushing. We were keenly aware of his time and took our leave. We walked out the stage door and as soon as we got through the barricades, the door opened again, there was a roar from the crowd, flashbulbs went off, people from all over 44th street swarmed the streets to see what they could see. It was an incredible feeling. I wonder how long he stayed. He had to rest before the evening show and doing it all over again, the whole thing. What a phenomenal man.
Sidebars: Went to Leopard at Cafe Des Artistes for our anniversary dinner. The whole experience didn't disappoint. The new owners respected the history of the restaurant, cleaned up the murals, spiffed it up a bit, and turned it into a must. The food and service were wonderful, but above all, it was the perfect capper to a very special day commemorating a life changing day.
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