Jackman impressed during his on air moments by doing everything from hopping for four minutes straight in the opening bit to tap dancing, jump roping and rapping in “The Music Man” bit with T.I. and LL Cool J. “They just gave me my rap name: Biggie Tap Shoes,” he joked.
But it was in the moments during the commercial breaks where Jackman really showed his ease and grace. He kept the audience’s mood light by cracking jokes, impromptu singing and giving regular updates on the score in Game 2 of the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. He joked about the “animals in the mosh pit” — aka the orchestra section.
At one point Jackman took a poll of audience members, asking among how many had not looked at a smartphone or device during the long show. When a few hands went up he shouted back: “Liars!”
He even called out his wife. “My wife’s on her iPhone — come on, honey.”
During one of the longer breaks toward the end, he made a point of introducing the orchestra members. “That’s all sex,” he joked as the standup bassist played a riff.
Before the last commercial break, he asked all of the winners to come up at the end of the night for a class picture. “Audra McDonald, if you come everyone will follow,” he said. And he urged the audience to get on our feet and bounce with him — before being set free to have a drink.
In all, Jackman moved around the stage with the skill of a seasoned pro that he is. There was a lot giddy talk on the stage from winners about the community of Broadway. With Jackman at the helm, we all felt welcome there tonight.