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Broadway Swoons over Hugh Jackman at the Opening of ‘The River’

Hugh Jackman Broadway opening River
Walter McBride/WireImage

Broadway loves Hugh Jackman — and not just the box office. The whole theater industry swoons for the guy, who is, by all accounts, a dreamboat to work with.

“I was waiting to see the cracks,” joked his costar Laura Donnelly (pictured above right) after the Nov. 16 opening night of Broadway play “The River.” “But it really is true!”

The gig — with three characters, a single set, a running time of 85 minutes and no costume changes for Jackman — seems like a breeze compared to the lavish musical productions he’s appeared in previously on Broadway (“The Boy from Oz,” “Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway”). “No shower after this one,” he noted following the opening night performance.

“But,” he added, “my character, and the whole play, is about trying to surrender to the moment and be present, and that’s really hard. Sometimes it’s easier to sing and dance and sweat.”

For his two costars, the butterflies of appearing onstage with a Hollywood superstar didn’t last long.

“Weirdly, that went away in the first 10 minutes,” said costar Cush Jumbo (pictured above left). “As I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying, he’s a great silly dog. The only time I remember he’s Hugh Jackman is when I come out and there are hundreds of people waiting for him.”

In keeping with the theme of Jez Butterworth’s play, which draws its images and symbolism from the fly fishing that is the obsession of Jackman’s character, the opening night party was on a boat — the World Yacht, docked on Manhattan’s west side. The revelers — including director Ian Rickson and producer Sonia Friedman — were prepared to shiver a little on a chilly November night.

“The boat was a great idea back in July,” Friedman cracked before going off to join the party.