Hot on the heels of the announcement that Broadway mainstay Les Misérables will be closing at the Imperial Theatre next spring comes news that a new tenant for the house is already lined up: The Boy From Oz, starring Hugh Jackman, will move into the Imperial in the fall of 2003. Oz producers Ben Gannon and Robert Fox confirmed the news today, announcing that previews will start on September 16, 2003 and the show will open officially on Thursday, October 16. (Several observers of the theater scene are guessing that Les Miz producer Cameron Mackintosh will extend that show's run beyond the announced closing date, and though this may be true, the news about Oz would seem to put a definite limit on any such extension.)
The Boy From Oz is the musical biography of songwriter Peter Allen, who went from humble beginnings in his Australian homeland to fame as a performer and songwriter after being "discovered" by Judy Garland. Billed as a new musical, Oz strings together many of Allen's hits, including "I Honestly Love You" and "I Still Call Australia Home." The show debuted Down Under in 1998 and, at the time, featured a book by Nick Enright -- but Martin Sherman (Bent) has been brought aboard to rework the script. Philip Wm. McKinley will direct the show for Broadway.
Hugh Jackman, an Aussie himself, was hailed for his performance as Curly in the Cameron Mackintosh-Trevor Nunn-Susan Stroman production of Oklahoma! in London before achieving film stardom.