×

Hugh Jackman Stirs Speculation for Broadway ‘Houdini’

On red carpets for 'The Wolverine,' actor suggests 2014 bow for the potential stage heavyweight

Hugh Jackman has been touting his upcoming Broadway tuner “Houdini” from “The Wolverine” red carpets, and even if definite plans are far from finalized, the possible 2014 bow mentioned by the thesp could shake up the Rialto landscape with a new heavyweight contender.

The only certainty right now for “Houdini,” produced by Scott Sanders (“The Color Purple”) and David Rockwell, is the industry reading planned for the fall. Decisions about the title’s future timeline will likely be made after that.

But as Jackman has said while making the press rounds for “The Wolverine,” if the “Houdini” reading and its industry reception are encouraging, the show could end up on the Main Stem as soon as next year. That’s the kind of news that makes legiters’ ears prick up — because “Houdini” looks poised to be one of those musicals that will make other brewing tuners want to get out of the way.

No Broadway production is ever a guaranteed powerhouse, but “Houdini” comes close. Jackman is one of Broadway’s top draws at the box office, driving stellar sales for his 2003-04 stint in “The Boy From Oz” before topping himself in limited runs of “A Steady Rain,” the 2009 play in which he co-starred with Daniel Craig, and in 2011 outing “Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway.”

The “Houdini” score, meanwhile, comes from Stephen Schwartz, whose most recent tuner was the global smash “Wicked.” Schwartz also has a handful of legit faves in his back catalog including “Pippin,” currently playing the Main Stem in a Tony-winning revival that has shaped up into a formidable commercial player.

That kind of B.O. pedigree makes “Houdini,” to be directed by legit regular Jack O’Brien (“Hairspray,” the upcoming “Macbeth” starring Ethan Hawke), look like one of those titles that other  producers expect will use up all of a Broadway season’s oxygen at the box office.

On the other hand, if the most recent Rialto season has made anything clear, it’s that sometimes there’s room on the Street for more than one or two big hits a season. No fewer than five shows that opened in spring 2013 — “Kinky Boots,” “Motown,” “Matilda,” “Cinderella” and “Pippin” — have consistently topped the $1 million mark in recent weeks.

In any case, the Broadway timeline for “Houdini” is still entirely up in the air, at least for now. The project doesn’t even have a book writer definitively attached, following the January departure of Aaron Sorkin.

Still, off-the-cuff talk such as Jackman’s will nonetheless send ripples through the legit community, especially among those producers backing titles that could, depending on the timing, find themselves in competition with the star’s next Broadway magic act.

More Legit

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    StubHub Refunds $500,000 to Customers Shut Out by New York Blackout

    Saturday’s blackout in New York had an outsized effect on the city’s nightlife, with Madison Square Garden and the entire Broadway district seeing multiple shows cancelled due to the the power outage. As a result, StubHub has refunded more than $500,000 worth of tickets for cancelled events. According to a statement from the company, the StubHub [...]

  • Warner Music Group Logo

    Warner Music Acquires Musical Theater Indie First Night Records

    Warner Music Group has acquired First Night Record, an independent record label for West End and Broadway musical theatre cast recordings. The company will be overseen by WMG’s Arts Music Division, led by President Kevin Gore. First Night co-founder John Craig will join the Arts Music team under a multi-year consulting agreement to identify and record musical theatre productions in [...]

  • Broadway

    Broadway Back In Biz After Power Outage Ends

    The bright lights of Broadway were back on Sunday morning as midtown Manhattan recovered from a power outage that lasted nearly seven hours in some areas. Social media was full of examples of how New Yorkers rose to the occasion after the power went out on a hot Saturday night shortly before 7 p.m. ET. [...]

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    Power Restored in New York City After Massive Outage Hits Broadway

    UPDATED: Power has gradually been restored to Midtown Manhattan and the theater district after what New York City officials described as a rolling blackout that darkened Times Square and other high-traffic areas on Saturday night. Officials said all power should be restored to the 73,000 customers affected by the outage by midnight ET. Local media [...]

  • Slave Play

    Controversial 'Slave Play' Is Broadway Bound

    “Slave Play,” a controversial drama that examined race and sexuality, is moving to Broadway for a limited run. Written by theatrical wunderkind Jeremy O. Harris, “Slave Play” was a sensation when it ran at the New York Theatre Workshop, drawing such bold-faced names as Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, and Tony Kushner. The show will debut at [...]

  • Mary Said What She Said

    Critic's Notebook: Seeing Isabelle Huppert and Dimitris Papaioannou in Paris

    “Do you miss Paris?” I get that question a lot, but never know what to say. How could I not? The two years I spent in that splendid city covering international cinema for Variety changed my life. “What do you miss most about Paris?” That’s a tough one too. The booksellers on the sidewalk in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content