- - Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jackman show sets records on the Great White Way

Hugh Jackman has left Broadway with a lot of broken hearts - and records.

According to the Associated Press, the hunky Australian actor’s one-man Broadway concert show closed Sunday afternoon at the Broadhurst Theatre after having earned $2,057,354 in its final week, the highest weekly gross recorded by the Shubert Organization, which owns the Broadhurst and 16 other Broadway theaters.

Over its 10-week run, Mr. Jackman earned a whopping $14,638,428, producers said. He now owns 10 of the 11 top grossing weeks at the Broadhurst.

Mr. Jackman, best known for playing Wolverine in “The X-Men” franchise, routinely sold out the 1,176-seat theater and usually posted weekly grosses of $1.5 million, often higher than rival musicals such as “Jersey Boys,” “Mama Mia!” “How to Succeed in Business,” “Anything Goes” and “Follies.”

Only “Wicked” and “The Lion King,” produced by other organizations, consistently outdid Mr. Jackman. But those shows also had much higher overhead costs.

The previous record at the Broadhurst was held by the Al Pacino-led “The Merchant of Venice,” which took in $1,175,750 earlier this year. Until now, the Shubert Organization’s one-week biggest haul was “Billy Elliot,” which earned $1,663,895 during an eight-show stretch last year.

During the run, Mr. Jackman raised a record $1,789,580 for the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The run “not only confirms him as one of the most bankable stars in Broadway’s history but also as a fundraiser,” producer Robert Fox said.

Backed by an 18-piece orchestra and six leggy dancers, a charming Mr. Jackman belted out about two dozen musical theater songs in “Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway.” It was his third time on the Great White Way, following “The Boy From Oz” in 2003 and the play “A Steady Rain” with Daniel Craig in 2009.

The show featured his interpretations of songs ranging from the sexy R&B tune “Fever” to “Rock Island,” from “The Music Man” to a medley of classic movie songs such as “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Luck Be a Lady.” The average ticket went for $160, with top premiums going for $350.

Next year, Mr. Jackman plans to star in a version of the musical “Les Miserables.”

Berlin film festival to honor Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep is to be honored for her wide-ranging career at this year’s Berlin film festival, the Associated Press reports.

Festival organizers said Monday that the 62-year-old Streep will be presented with an honorary Golden Bear, the event’s top award, on Feb. 14.

Festival director Dieter Kosslick said, “Meryl Streep is a brilliant, versatile performer who moves with ease between dramatic and comedic roles.”

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