It seems that Tony Di Napoli's restaurant on West 43rd Street is wresting the Broadway eatery-portrait monopoly away from Sardi's with its "Broadway Wall of Fame", Hugh Jackman is the latest addition.
Already decorated with the likeness of Broadway legend Bernadette Peters, the restaurant welcomed The Boy from Oz Tony winner Jackman as he attended the unveiling of his Peter Allen meets Wolverine meets Van Helsing portrait on Aug. 1. More stars are lined up to have unveilings in the coming weeks.
Tony Di Napoli's is located at 147 West 43rd Street in midtown Manhattan's Theater District.
THE FINAL FINALE PERFORMANCE OF THE BOY FROM OZ
HUGH JACKMAN & MATT DAMON LAPDANCE
@ THE BOY FROM OZ FINAL PERFORMANCE
I know I can't smile without HUGH, can you?
For those who have seen "The Boy From Oz" - treasured memories - for those who haven't a pictorial rotogravure.
This summed up everyone's emotions about this once in a lifetime show, I saw it three times, twice on my 50th birthday, the 2 o'clock and 8 o'clock performances.
Farewell, Hugh Closing-Night Hysteria and Tears
New York Observer, The, Sept 27, 2004
By John Heilpern
If you want to understand the nature of public hysteria, go to the last performance of a successful Broadway show. These emotional, fond farewells--expressions of love and communion--are unique to New York.
In London, nobody bothers much about closing nights. In London, nobody bothers much about anything. But here, where enthusiasm is innate, people want to see their favorite show one last time. In their sentiment, they want to give thanks and say, "I was there!"
You should have been there for Hugh Jackman's final performance in The Boy From Oz. Never seen anything like it. His first entrance is immediately after the overture, when he comes on in darkness to sit at a piano. Lights up! But, of course, the packed house has seen the show before and knows every move. They can see him strolling onstage in the shadows.
It's him! It's him! It's Hugh! Hysteria. Everyone's on their feet cheering and screaming. The lights go up. He starts to sing. More hysteria!
They stopped the show before it began. He just stood there grinning from ear to ear. Well, wouldn't you?
A good friend of mine, who was happy to pay 700 smackeroos for her tickets, was seeing the show for the eighth time. I'm embarrassed to know her, actually. But that's nothing. She told me the Japanese couple seated in front of her were seeing the show for the 100th time. But that's nothing, either. Midway through the show, Mr. Jackman introduced a lady to the audience who's seen it 200 times. The spotlight found her in one of the best seats, and she stood up proudly to take a well-deserved bow.
As I joined in the hearty applause for her, I did a quick, mean little calculation: At $100 dollars a ticket, she'd spent $20,000 going to see The Boy from Oz four times a week for a year.
Don't tell me people don't love the theater.
The whole farewell performance was fun and touching and camp--rather like Peter Allen, or the somewhat maligned production itself. I see my review was displayed in the foyer, blown up and reprinted in full. But then, it was the only rave review the show got, more or less. Why did those eunuchs called critics dislike The Boy from Oz so much? It was as if they were trying their best to gun it down. But what's the use of wondering? This I know: They called it wrong! The show became a hit.
True, it wasn't Threepenny Opera. It wasn't meant to be. True, it had a bona fide superstar in Hugh Jackman, who gave the best performance in a razzmatazz Broadway musical many of us have seen. But no performer can go it alone. Mr. Jackman needed the kindling wood that ignites the fire--the show itself, all the other fine artists, the popular songs of Peter Allen, the life story simply told.
The sour critics--sophisticates, all--missed the essential point. They should have listened to the audience. The best seat for a musical isn't always a seat. If you stand at the back of the house, as I did for the farewell Boy from Oz, you experience a show differently, and it tells you something. You can actually feel an entire audience responding to what's happening onstage, as if a tidal wave of emotion, or love, is rolling back and forth through the auditorium. If you want to know how a show is really doing, don't listen to critics. Listen to the audience instead.
But what could beat Mr. Jackman's own farewell at the end of the show? It came at the start of his last song, sung for the last time:
Once before I go--
The collective groan from the house was so palpable we laughed.
"Don't go!" came the response. "We love you!" "Stay!" "We love you, Hugh!"
"And I love you, darlin'," Hugh replied in his Aussie accent. He's a good sort. The band was still playing the opening chords. He began the last song again:
Once before I go
I want you to know--
That I would do it all again.
Hysteria! The song was tailor-made for the occasion. Then the curtain descended. And all stood and cheered and cheered and cheered to the rafters. And life was good.
COPYRIGHT 2004 The New York Observer
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
If you have any pictures that you would like to add please e-mail us!
Fellow Ozians, this web page was assembled by Elaine Willingham @ Beyond the Rainbow beyondtherainbow2oz.com to preserve the legacy of the Original Broadway Cast of "The Boy From Oz." Elaine is the co-author of "Cooking in Oz" -- that has recently been re-released, and the publisher has plans for a second printing. We hope to include recipes from all of the actors in "The Boy From Oz". Bravo! to all involved with the production, it's amazing.