Hugh Jackman praises liners’ ‘courage’ after Covid forced Broadway star
Actor Hugh Jackman closed a Broadway performance this week with a passionate tribute to the liners and “swings” that must step in to perform at all times.
“It humiliates me,” Jackman, 53, told the audience during an encore Thursday night after a performance of “The Music Man” at New York’s Winter Garden Theater, where he plays the crook Harold. Hill.
“The courage, the brilliance, the dedication, the talent,” he said. “The swings, the liners, they’re the foundation of Broadway.”
Jackman’s speech came after his co-star, Sutton Foster, tested positive for Covid-19 and was unable to portray Librarian Marian Paroo, a lead role in the classic musical about a con artist who poses as the leader of a group of boys to earn money, planning to skip town.
In a video of the speech posted to Instagram by an audience member, Tony Award-winning actor Jackman honors understudy Kathy Voytko for her performance.
“Kathy, when she got to work at noon, could have played any of the eight roles,” Jackman said.
She found out at noon on Thursday that she would have to take over as Foster’s head, he said. “And at 1pm she had her very first rehearsal as Marian Paroo.”
Jackman then called other swings and liners forward and noted that their job was especially tough at the start of a production like “The Music Man,” which was hosting its fourth preview on Thursday.
The swings and liners didn’t have much time to learn their roles, he said.
“They watched from the corner of a room as we rehearse, as we practice over and over again,” he said. “They can just watch and write notes, and then five hours before a performance, they’re like, ‘You’re going. By the way, you’ve got a wig fitting.
Foster echoed Jackman’s praise on Friday morning on Instagram, according to People, noting that Voytko had “smashed” him on stage and calling Jackman “class”.