‘Music Man’ opens on Broadway with Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster
New York City became River City Thursday night.
Tony winning stars Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster took the stage at the Winter Garden Theater to kick off the long-delayed revival of ‘The Music Man,’ which has weathered COVID outbreaks, production breaks and the withdrawal of lead producer Scott Roudin over almost two years.
Before the curtains even rose, the opening night festivities began with a high school marching band rousing the eagerly awaiting crowd with renditions of “76 Trombones” and “The Wells Fargo Wagon.” Producer Kate Hortonwho was named after Rudin left the show in June 2021 due to allegations of abusive behavior and workplace bullying, welcomed the first attendees alongside the Chancellor of NYC Schools David Banks.
“Our children have been through a lot throughout this pandemic,” Banks said. “Music, theater and dance are what the souls and spirits of all our young people need.”
Once the red carpet started, A-list celebrities started pouring in, including Jackman’s friend and fellow Marvel star Ryan Reynolds, director Shawn Levywho directed Jackman in 2011’s “Real Steel,” and Reynolds’ wife Blake Lively. Co-star of Jackman’s “Les Miserables” Anne Hathaway was also present. Inside Foster’s “Younger” co-star Peter Herman and creator Darren Star walked on the carpet, just like Hermann’s wife Mariska Hargitay. Other celebrity guests included the Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andy Cohen, Seth Meyers, Cynthia Nixon and Gayle Kingin addition to politicians like the mayor of New York Eric Adamsgovernor Kathy Hochul and Mike Bloomberg.
The star-studded premiere was fitting for an opening night that had been in the works for years.
“There were a lot of ups and downs,” Jackman told reporters after the show. “You have been two and a half, three years since we started this journey. Some parts were like, “Maybe we’ll never get there.” And here we are… Everything about it seems truly miraculous.
Jackman and Foster were first cast as con man Harold Hill and his love interest Marian Paroo in 2019, with a quirky and unmissable opening party scheduled for October 22, 2020. Little did they or anyone know that The COVID-19 pandemic would turn the world upside down and temporarily close Broadway theaters soon after.
“Hallelujah, we made it” Philip Boykinwho plays baritone Olin Britt from the barbers quartet, told Variety. “We have been rehearsing for months. It was the longest preview I’ve ever seen with a Broadway show. I think we did 30 or 40 previews, and I was really happy and relieved that we finally got to opening night.
Not only has “The Music Man” had to push back its opening night twice during the pandemic, Jackman and Foster both tested positive for COVID-19 in late 2021, forcing the show to cancel several performances as it nears. the new Year. Like many other Broadway shows, “Music Man” had to rely on the flexibility of its stunt doubles and swingers, who sometimes had to take on new roles in just hours.
“We are a team,” said Jackman Variety. “It was really important for us to make sure, especially these kids, that they have a really good experience. No one does it alone. We’re all in this together. We came together as a cast before to continue tonight, and it’s important to make sure everyone feels appreciated, seen, heard and valued.
The hit musical, about a con artist who poses as a music teacher to scam a small town in the Midwest, is directed by Jerry Zaks and produced by Barry Diller, David Gefen, Horton and Fictionhouse. And it comes as Broadway and other institutions begin to reopen as the omicron waves begin to subside – not a moment too soon.
“It’s like the industry, we’ve had such a struggle throughout the pandemic, like all of the arts. I want to thank all the intrepid people who made their first appearance on Broadway a few months ago. It was a scary and risky business to do it, and it took courage for them to prepare for this time, when we can be here and open just fine,” Jayne Houdyshellwho plays Eulalie Macckecknie Shinn, told Variety.
The opening night crowd cheered for several numbers and showered the performers with a roaring standing ovation once the curtains closed. Jackman, Foster and the rest of the cast had a seemingly perfect night.
“There are paperclips thrown, 75 books thrown in the library sequence, library carts rolling. Hugh has a number of dangerous stunts,” choreographer warren carlyle Recount Variety. “I think we dropped a book – I saw one fall on the deck – but we did pretty well.”