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THE BOY FROM OZ THE BOY FROM OZ
Book by Martin Sherman, Original book by Nick Enright, Music and Lyrics by Peter Allen

Uptown Players

Directed by Cheryl Denson
Music Direction by Scott A. Eckert
Choreography by Jeremy Dumont
Scenic Design by Rodney Dobbs
Lighting Design by Amanda West
Costume Design by Suzi Cranford
Wig/Make Up Design by Coy Covington
Sound Design by Virgil Justice
Stage Management by Matt Grevan

CAST:

Alex Ross – Peter Allen
Janelle Lutz – Judy Garland
Sarah Elizabeth Smith – Liza Minnelli
Marlon Woolnough – Jodi Wright
Young Peter Allen – Weslin Brown
Greg Connell – Kyle Montgomery
Dick Woolnough/Dee Anthony – Henry F. Sonny Franks
Chris Bell – Thomas Christopher Renner
Karen-Brett Warner Hurt
Shena-Danielle Estes
Linelle-Maranda Harrison
Mark Herron – Sean Burroughs
Grandfather/Announcer – Dennis Canright
Trick-Rashaun Sibley

Ensemble: Alex Altshuler, Lamar Brown, Westin Brown, Sean Burroughs, Dennis Canright, Danielle Estes, Kyle Fleig, Emily Ford, Sonny Franks, Maranda Harrison, Whitney Hennen, Jessica Humphrey, Brett Warner Hurt, Kelly McCain, Kyle Montgomery, Thomas Christopher Renner, Rashaun Sibley

THE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZTHE BOY FROM OZ






Reviewed Performance 7/26/2014

Reviewed by John Garcia, Senior Chief Critic/Editor/Founder for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

In reviewing theater I never compare a local production to the Broadway version. I do however compare national tours to Broadway, as the tours are intended to be the replicas of what was done on those stages on the great white way. This review is different, due to the fact that The Boy From Oz (BFO) never toured, and (as Uptown Players-an equity theater company- has stated in their press releases) this is the first produced version of BFO in the United States since the Broadway production. Thus my only reference is the original Broadway production, which I did see.

When it was announced that Hugh Jackman would make his Broadway debut in the musical The Boy from Oz, I knocked over my diet coke and squashed the cat with my foot as I rushed to the phone to immediately request my press comps. Jump forward a few months later and there I was at the Imperial Theatre, center orchestra, six rows from the stage. The overture played, and then a single light shone on stage, and there he was! HUGH JACKMAN! OMG! HUGH JACKMAN!

I am obsessed with Hugh Jackman! I’m such a die-hard fan that I’m sure I’m on his restraining order candidate list. The second I saw him as the Wolverine in 2000’s X-Men, his steel claws snatched me up into becoming one of his adoring fans. By the time I saw BFO I had seen all of his films up to that point. He had just wrapped up filming Van Helsing before he began rehearsals for BFO. When he first appeared on the silver screen, I read everything I could on him. That’s when I discovered his background in theater. Wait? He can SING?! He does musical theater?! WHAT? In his native Australia he was in Beauty & the Beast (Gaston) and Sunset Boulevard (Joe Gillis). In West End London he portrayed Curley in Trevor Nunn’s Oklahoma. As much as I hate that R and H classic, I bought the DVD just to watch the Wolverine sing! And this was years before he would go on to earn an Oscar nod for Les Misérables.

Jackman has this mesmerizing, fervent and hypnotic presence on celluloid that easily transposes onto the stage. But for BFO, that magnetic, sexy presence and talent simply could not fit within the confines of the Imperial Theater. The proscenium and stage boards buckled, ready to burst into shards of splintered wood and plaster, as this film star stood, flesh and blood, right there on that stage! VERY few film stars of today have that kind of rare talent, but he does. The audience, me included, became a drooling, screaming, almost cult-like sea of Jackman worshippers!

Funny tidbit: in BFO Jackman rarely left the stage. So in Act II when he had to do a quick costume change, he told the audience he had to stay on the stage to change because he didn’t have time to exit. He took off his shirt, and I THOUGHT I said this in my head, but no, it actually came out of my mouth as I said to my friend sitting next to me, “Whoa!”, to which Jackman responded from the stage, looking dead into the center section where I was sitting, “Oh, like what you see mate?” I passed out!

In that rare “connect the dots” of life, a friend of mine, Tony Award winner Jarrod Emick, was actually in the cast of The Boy from Oz. We first met when I interviewed him in New York while he was in the 2000 revival of The Rocky Horror Show. We became fast friends and still stay in touch. In BFO he portrayed Jackman’s lover and had several very sensual passionate kissing scenes with him. This caused a storm of publicity. Wolverine making out with a guy? Both men are straight in real life, have wives and children. Emick and I did have a good laugh when I asked him what it was like making out with the Wolverine. When I met Jackman after the show, I could barely speak. But I met him and have the photograph and autograph to prove it!

Jackman is six feet four inches tall, and head to toe a wall of muscle, with that movie star, chiseled face the camera loves. He is a very masculine man and butch as hell. Just look at his film work. But to see him completely strip away every semblance of his film persona and masculine traits to pour himself into the gay entertainer Peter Allen, on whose life BFO is based, was jaw dropping remarkable to watch. He jumped in hook, line and sinker into Allen’s persona, voice, mannerisms, and yes, flamboyance. Not over- the-top flaming queen, but just enough queen. Most straight film actors that portray gay roles either sink or swim when going into unknown waters of sexuality. Jackman seeped into Allen’s skin. He did not shy away from the gay romance or Allen’s flashy, exaggerated stage antics. In Act II he performed a whole number dressed in skin tight, gold lame pants and leopard print shirt as he flirted and played with the audience like his own personal plush toys. Oozing a cocktail of sex, camp and innuendos, Jackman went full gusto in that scene! He rightfully deserved and won the Tony Award in 2004 for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Peter Allen.

BFO comes from a factory that even today still churn out at least two or three musicals from that burned out genre of “jukebox music”. BFO uses the music catalogue from Peter Allen’s career to construct a musical around his life. Allen, like Hugh Jackman, is a native Australian who was both a songwriter and a stage performer. His song “I Still Call Australia Home” became an anthem for that country. Allen’s accolades include several Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar for Best Original Song for the film Arthur (1981) titled “Best You Can Do”. He sold out his concerts at Radio City Music Hall, making RCMH history by making his entrance sitting on a live camel, and also became the only male to perform in the famous kick line with the Radio City Rockettes. Jackman would reprise those two events when he hosted the 2004 Tony Awards which were also held at Radio City Music Hall.

Allen wrote several hits for other singers in the 70s, including “I Honestly Love You” for Olivia Newton John, “Don’t Cry Out Loud” for Melissa Manchester, and “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love” for Rita Coolidge. Allen would have his own hit with the disco classic, “I Go to Rio”.

Before coming out of the closet, Allen became Liza Minnelli’s first husband in 1967. It was the great legend herself, Judy Garland, who introduced Allen to her daughter Liza. Once he came out of the closet, Allen had a long time partner named Greg Connell, a fashion model from Texas. Sadly, Connell died from an AIDS-related illness in their California home. Allen would also succumb to AIDS, passing away in 1992. His ashes were strewn over the Australian sea.

Thanks to Jackman’s plethora of worldwide fans, BFO was a sold out smash. The producers tried in vain to find another major star like Jackman to take over the role but couldn’t find anyone who could do all that Jackman could do, plus add the layer of playing a gay man. So when Jackman’s contract was up in September 2004, the production closed but still earned a ton of moola for everyone.

When a tour was discussed, the producers faced the same dilemma: who had the kind of star power that could carry a mammoth role like that, with all its components - singing, dancing, and acting, loving another man on stage - and being full of camp and flamboyance when required? It’s a role where one must react and play off the audience, with a razor sharp sense of ad-libbing to riff off them every night. Jackman left an impossible task for these producers, which was to find another Hugh Jackman. They couldn’t and so the tour was scrapped.

Dallas’s Uptown Players is the first theater company in the United States to mount this musical. That is quite an honor for this equity house.

While the Broadway version was a rapid, emotional train ride from start to finish, Uptown Players’ overall production, while deliciously entertaining, had the feeling you were on a bicycle heading toward a massive mountain. Throughout the evening the show would start to gather speed only to slowly lose its breath, pushing and sweating up a storm to get up that mountain.

Maybe because I was so focused on Jackman’s performance I never really paid attention or realized how unbalanced and devoid of weighty subtext the book lacked. The first act works better story wise, but the second act the book doesn’t truly flesh out the emotional hardships Allen faced both off and on stage.

One of the glaring omissions in the musical’s book is how quickly it skims over Allen’s own Broadway debut which was a major debacle. In 1988 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre premiered the musical, Legs Diamond, which Allen wrote the music and lyrics for and also starred in. The book was co-written by Harvey Fierstein. The plot was about a depression era mobster who wants to make it in the world of show biz. The musical had tons of glitter and sequins but they could not cover up the snore fest score and scattered book. It closed after 64 performances. Oddly enough, it had an unusual run of 72 previews, which back then was far more than the usual preview run on Broadway, which was sixteen to twenty four. Allen took a bloodbath in the negative, scathing reviews the show received. Many of the critics attacked him for trying to play against type as a straight, urbane Casanova. The musical was such a financial failure that the Nederlander Organization (which owned the Mark Hellinger and was a major producer of the musical) had to sell the theater to the Times Square Church to recover some of its financial loss. This mega flop and all its juicy backstory in Allen’s career is practically ignored in the stage musical of his life.

The design elements on the Kalita Humphries stage (where Uptown Players calls home) were a muddy mixture of hit and miss. Uptown has had some of the most gorgeous sets in past productions, such as Yellow and Next To Normal. For BFO it was quite simplistic and basic. Scenic Designer Rodney Dobbs unfortunately dropped the ball here. The majority of the show had a sparse sprinkling of set pieces here and there, but it was the actual design that left me nonplussed. The fly-in piece for the TV show scene looked so lifeless . There was a city backdrop, and some odd, white frame thing for the apartment scenes. Also, everyone knows those large letters that spell Liza are always trimmed in twinkling lights. There were none here.

For Peter’s big solo concert at Radio City Music Hall, Dobbs created a tacky arc/false proscenium set piece that resembles nothing of Radio City. The piece was painted a color that resembled Pepto-Bismol with a simple pink line in the center. It didn’t help matters that the pink actually clashed with the blues in the costumes for that number. For the finale, the Broadway production had a spiraling, Plexiglas staircase that disappeared into the rafters, giving the illusion we were in heaven with Peter, Judy, and the cast. Dobbs instead designed two humongous, glittered bongo drums that must have belonged to King Kong. Very surprised on low key the scenic design was here.

Amanda West’s lighting design worked quite well for the majority of the evening. There were a couple of hiccups, resulting in anti-climactic moments. I was seated pretty close to the stage, but in Act II when a tragedy happens, the lighting and “shadowing” of what was going on could not be seen whatsoever. Instead, one saw a slow rise of yellows with a gobo image of what looked like window blinders. I got very confused. Was this Miss Saigon? South Pacific? It didn’t connect at all, so whatever was being flashed on the back wall far upstage left was not seen. Also, the palm tree gobo for the finale was a bit small. There is so much open back wall and the palm tree looked miniscule in comparison. Finally, for Peter’s last ballad, “Once Before I Go”, the song begins with a soft piano. West had harsh LEDs splash directly into the audience but they popped on so fast they actually startled me and didn’t really mesh with the softness and the emotion of the lyrics within the ballad. But overall, the lighting was quite nice.

Suzi Cranford’s costumes outshone all the other design elements. Many of the costumes were constructed with polish and refinement. They were very authentic in the various time periods and the color palette was sublime. In the Broadway finale the women wore these towering headpieces and massive, billowing gowns that screamed Ziegfeld and Bob Mackie. While Cranford’s were obviously not going to be like that, she still produced great fabric magic with her own vision of those finale costumes. I also found the Rockettes costumes outstanding in their design and concept. Her costumes for Judy and Liza were works of art. Truly they were. The only flaws, strangely enough, were the costumes worn by Alex Ross as Peter Allen. I know the character hardly ever leaves the stage but his costumes seemed to lack the finesse Allen himself would have used. The white tuxedo he wore badly needed beading, it looked too much like a prom tux rental. Another big letdown was the gold lame pants Allen wore at the beginning of Act II. Hugh Jackman made those gold lame pants his own personal sex toy to play with towards the audience, and they were sorely missed here. Allen had been photographed many times in those shirts, tied at the waist, with massive, billowing ruffles for “I Go to Rio”. That’s an iconic image. Thus, to have Ross dressed more simply, in a white shirt covered in glitter pineapples, just didn’t work here. Nonetheless, the majority of Cranford’s costumes were the shining stars within the design elements of TBFO.

I can count on one hand how many costume designers within the DFW area that builds full costumes from scratch. Today most theater companies rent or borrow. The art of designing, constructing and bringing to life original costumes is a dying art within this metroplex. Thank you Ms. Cranford for reminding us what the true definition of costume designer means.

I have seen so many productions incorporating some of the worst wigs ever designed. Wig design is also a dying art form. It requires great detail and attention to period, concept and execution. So many women appear on stage in hideous wigs, looking like they were shoved onto their heads straight out of the box. Coy Covington’s wig design for The Boy from Oz was masterly crafted work. You could clearly see he spent hours to make sure the wigs worn by Liza and Judy matched what their hair looked like in real life. They were cut, sculpted, sprayed, and feathered to coiffure perfection. Covington was also in charge of their make-up design, and his paints, powders, contouring, & eyelashes were astonishing on how he made Judy and Liza come to life!

Scott A. Eckert’s musical direction was right on the money. The tempos and pace never once sagged. Now, I cannot say if it was an instrument issue or a sound problem, but at times the band sounded muffled and not balanced with the vocalists. The music in some numbers ebbed out with grand results, but in other songs it sounded like they were behind some foam wall, muffling the sound.

Disco music is one of the hardest forms of music to create live. You simply must have the right instruments to fully bring to life full-out disco. And two major instruments you MUST have to make it work are orchestral strings and tons of percussion. For Uptown Players’ band, I could tell right off the bat those were electronic strings. The percussion also seemed to be coming from electronic drum sets so many use now. I could be wrong, but that’s what it sounded like from the house. For “I Go to Rio” you need a resounding wave of violins and cellos, but more importantly, heart-pounding, full-gusto percussion. It was not there for the number. Also where was the whistle? If there is one thing that disco has is that whistle. Allen’s original song has a whistle but alas it vanished in this version. These issues made the finale a tad anti-climactic, you gotta have those classic disco orchestrations to make you get up and shake your booty. Nonetheless, the band did to a terrific, crowd pleasing job with Allen’s music catalogue.

Cheryl Denson’s direction for the majority of the evening was peerless. The pace never waned and kept moving at just the right speed. The blocking and staging had weight and substance for the majority of the evening. But at times it lacked subtext, most evident in the second act where the more dramatic scenes occur. For example the scene between Greg & Peter when a tragic revelation occurs, the blocking did not reflect or comment on the situation and had no organic subtext. It was very impressive how Denson had her cast and crew move everything off and on stage with total silence and never once distracted. She achieved smashing success with her direction. Denson usually directs the classic hits from Broadway’s past, thus to tackle a recent musical can be daunting. Not for Denson, one viewing of BFO shows why she is considered one of the best directors in the DFW theater community.

New York Times Theater Critic Ben Brantley wrote this in his review of the Broadway production of The Boy from Oz: “Hugh Jackman’s shoulders must ache like the devil when he wakes up in the morning. After all, this able-bodied, infinitely appealing young man is spending most of his nights engaged in the heaviest lifting this side of a Mr. Universe training camp. No shoulders, no matter how broad, should be asked to heft such a burden. (October 17, 2003).”

The role of Peter Allen is a herculean challenge. He is on stage 90% of the evening. He has twenty two songs to sing, over half of them solos. Then there’s all the dancing and various book scenes. Plus having to segue from being straight, then in the closet, then bi, and finally realizing he is gay. Oh, and to also display the toll AIDS is taking on him physically and emotionally. Hugh Jackman did it, but he is that rare talent that could and did pull all that off.

Alex Ross had that challenge set before him to portray Peter Allen in this U.S. premiere. I must confess it was extremely difficult not to have Jackman’s performance constantly pop into my head as I watched Ross perform. It was not fair to compare them, but in the same vein one can’t help it.

Now having said that, I have seen Ross in other musicals in past seasons, and his performance here was the finest work he has ever done. His scene work with his mother provided the most touching moments of the entire evening and gave the piece such warmth. I was just impressed beyond measure on what a stunning performance Ross achieved here There were at times some pitfalls and odd choices he made as an actor that didn’t hit the mark, but he still gave a tour de force performance.

Now, it could very well be just me, but both his singing and talking voice sounded quite a bit like Jackman. He had the same tonal, baritone voice of Jackman. I kept thinking, “He sounds just like Jackman”, both in dialogue and singing. But big kudos to him for nailing down to the Australian accent. He never once dropped the accent. Ever. I was greatly impressed Ross did not shy away from Allen’s flamboyance. Ross slipped into Allen’s body and mannerisms with finesse. He recreated Allen’s famous leg on the piano, play with the microphone stand, and his hand gestures to his trio of girl singers, all with flare and pizzazz that Allen had. Ross did do something that Jackman did not, which was to actually play the piano on stage! Bravo! Ross truly amazed me that he did not shy away whatsoever from Allen’s lifestyle and flamboyance. That’s the way Allen was, and for Ross to go full gusto with that speaks volumes of his talent and dedication to characterization and subtext.

Ross has a splendiferous, tenor singing voice; he is one of the very best male singers in town in my opinion. He has a powerful belt and his vibrato never wavers off or leaves his control. However, at Saturday’s reviewed performance he did crack vocally in two numbers. In “Once Before I Go” as he sustained that final, huge, belting note, his voice cracked, forcing him to cut the note, unable to sustain to the cut off. But in his defense, that song is number twenty one, after singing all night long. So I felt vocal fatigue simply kicked in.

I don’t know if it was a director’s decision or not, but I so missed the ad-libbing scene during “Bi-Coastal” which opens Act II. Already the gold lame pants were gone here, but on Broadway, Jackman would bring on stage a man or woman from the audience, sit them on a chair, and then proceed to give them all that butt shaking and hip action. Jackman as Allen would ad-lib a storm during that scene. It was watching a master at his craft. He would match his hip action, butt shaking and thrusting to the percussion beat. Sadly, all that was cut from the Uptown version. Even though Ross still did do the butt shaking and hip thrusts, he was either a beat behind the percussion or one step ahead.

Ross had sincere, honest chemistry with the majority of the actors, save one. Where Ross struggled the most was his scene work with Kyle Montgomery who portrayed Allen’s lover, Greg Connell. There was simply no chemistry between the two actors. As noted earlier, Jarrod Emick, who originated the role of Greg on Broadway, and Jackman had raw, sensual, erotic chemistry. They never once shied away from physical contact. They had several long, passionate, and very believable kissing scenes. Ross and Montgomery only kissed once, and it looked awkward, staged and devoid of true attraction to and affection for each other. There is a scene in his dressing room after Allen’s smashing, opening night at Radio City Music Hall, and instead of his lover giving him a beautiful, loving kiss of congratulations on such a special moment, they hugged like two drinking buddies after a game of darts. Allen’s homosexuality and romance with Greg is a major arc in Act II, and, regrettably, it fell apart in Uptown’s version.

I’m afraid Montgomery was simply miscast in his role. It was a horrible acting/directing choice to give Greg such a thick, hick, Texas drawl. Greg was from Texas but Montgomery sounded like an extra from Hee Haw. His acting craft also suffered. There is a scene with Ross as he reveals something tragic that had no weight of dramatic intensity, emotional variation, or subtext – and his facial expressions did not change. But mainly it was such a major let down on the lack of any chemistry between Ross and Montgomery.

Another misstep was the trio of female singers that back up Allen in his concerts. There were moments when the harmonies were not tight. In a couple of the numbers these three girls would go sharp or under the key, thus losing that blend needed to create those luxurious harmonies.

When you have iconic legends such as Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli to portray on stage, well, talk about pressure. Isabel Keating portrayed Judy Garland on Broadway, earning her a Tony nomination, while Stephanie J. Block tackled the role of Liza. Keating received mixed reviews, but poor Block was raked over the coals by the press.

Janelle Lutz portrays one of the greatest legends of film, stage and TV that ever walked this earth – Judy Garland. When I saw Keating in the Broadway version, my heart stopped. She WAS Judy Garland, from her voice to her mannerisms and facial expressions. And then her singing voice - it was pure Garland. I actually choked back tears because Keating was Garland right before our eyes. It wasn’t an impersonation but a flesh and blood recreation of the MGM goddess.

For Uptown’s version, Ms. Lutz did a fantastic job as Garland, but at times missed the mark completely. She sort of matched Garland’s vocal quality and speaking rhythm, but it was not consistent. Lutz had some of Garland’s mannerisms but didn’t sustain them or else didn’t have some of her very famous stage movements we all know and love. For example the body mic with the speaker wire attached. Garland use that as a major prop in her live performances. Lutz did not go full out with this prop the way Garland did.

Now, to those not familiar of Garland won’t notice this at all. As it states on the Uptown Players website, “they offer diverse productions with contemporary and alternative lifestyle themes that explore complex and varied situations such as relationships, family, prejudice, and values….to the Uptown and Oak Lawn communities”. And Judy is one of the greatest gay icons. Her death created the Stonewall riot and the birth of gay freedom. So if you’re going to do Judy on stage, you better wear her like a second skin. The closest Lutz got to Garland’s true essence was when she sang. She really nailed Garland’s famous vocals, vibrato and belt. Hell, no one can truly pull off Garland, only Garland herself could. But I must give Ms. Lutz a standing ovation for tackling what had to be one of the biggest challenges of any actor’s career, to bring to life one of greatest stars to have ever lived. Lutz was quite remarkable as the girl who went down that yellow brick road but had such a rough and bumpy life.

Sarah Elizabeth Smith was assigned the role of Liza in Uptown’s version, and like Stephanie Block in the Broadway production, she struggled greatly with it. Smith did a better job with Liza’s famous speaking voice (you can hear that oh-so-familiar pronunciation of her esses). But then she would tend to drop Liza’s vocal inflections off and on. Bless her heart, at the reviewed performance, her body mic fizzled out and we could not hear her at all in her first entrance and song. Like Block, Smith did not perfect Liza’s mannerisms and body movements. She also lost Liza’s singing style; it was more like her own voice than Liza’s when she sang. Smith did more of an impersonation of Liza than becoming flesh and blood, getting into the heart and soul of this famous, Oscar/Tony award winning icon. As the musical progressed, Smith started getting very close to the real woman, and in her scene with Peter in Act II she was Liza! It was there when it came the closest to the real Liza. That’s what Smith needed from the very beginning. Liza is still alive so many in the audience KNOW Liza’s voice and talent. I thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s work, but just like Block’s Broadway performance-it was more of an impersonation than bringing Liza to realistic, believable life.

Jodi Wright was a major highlight of the evening as Marion Woolnough, Peter’s mother. She was so loving and caring, that her scenes with Ross as her son were some of the best acting scene work of the entire production. The chemistry between them was so strong and believable. Wright’s vocal performance in her only solo, “Don’t Cry Out Loud”, was a true show-stopping number from the long list of numbers performed. I actually enjoyed Wright’s performance so much more than Beth Fowler, who originated the role on Broadway.

Weslin Brown stole the audience’s hearts with his portrayal of young Peter Allen. This kid tapped up a storm! He executed the choreography like he was channeling Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire. He tapped with such bursting energy and joy, that if Shirley Temple was in the wings she’d throw her lollipop at him for upstaging her! His Australian accent was natural, with not a hint of being false or forced. This is one talented little boy!

A special round of praise goes to Henry F. (Sonny )Franks. His dual role as Allen’s physically abusive alcoholic father, and then later as Allen’s agent is a testament to his chameleon like talents. He was vile and cruel as Dick Woolnough, Peter’s unloving father. Watch his facial expressions in Act II, they speak volumes of what this man is thinking and feeling. As Allen’s tough, bada bing agent Dee Anthony, Franks had a hysterical running gag of always fixing his toupee before he made his entrance.

Before the lights came down for the musical to begin, the gentleman next to my guest asked him if had seen the show before. He said no, but that his friend (pointing to me) had seen it in New York. The man’s eyes widened and he said, “Ohmigod! You saw Hugh Jackman in the show?!” I said yes. He immediately responded, “Oh, I so wish I had gotten to see him in it. I’d give anything to have seen him in the show.”

He is right; no one will ever measure the phenomenal performance that Jackman created on Broadway in The Boy from Oz. It will be one of those historic, once-in-a- lifetime experiences. No mere mortal can replicate what Jackman achieved.

In the end, Uptown Players and Alex Ross boldly took up the artistic risk of mounting this musical that hasn’t been seen since Broadway. And the end result was a pleasurable, engrossing, and a crowd pleaser of a musical. Alex Ross rightfully earned his standing ovation at Saturday’s reviewed performance, as this was his most challenging role ever in his career so far. He soared so artistically high in his craft as an actor on the Kalita Humphries stage as Peter Allen.




THE BOY FROM OZ
Uptown Players
Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX 75219
Runs through August 10th

Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00pm. Tickets range from $30.00-$50.00
For information on the show and to purchase tickets, go to www.uptownplayers.org or call the box office at 214-219-2718. You may also purchase at the box office during their hours, Tuesday – Friday 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, and Saturday (on performance days) 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Tuesday through Friday.