12 January 2005

Blogging about last year's Tony Awards, I wrote:
The real revelation from tonight's awards ceremony, however, was the glimpse that television viewers got of Hugh Jackman as Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz. Jackman seemed visibly uncomfortable as host throughout most of the evening, but as soon as he changed into those tight golden pants and began to sing, dance, and gyrate across the stage, it was hard to avoid the unanswerable question: what is this man doing in Van Helsing?
Someone else was watching, apparently, because Jackman has just signed a deal to star in a series of big movie musicals for Disney, which is great, great news. I'm a sucker for musicals—even Beyond the Sea contained sequences that made me unreasonably happy—and this could be the best thing to happen to the genre in decades. Unlike other movie genres, which in theory can be revived at any time, the musical requires something intangible and unpredictable: the emergence of an extraordinarily talented performer who can carry the entire genre on his or her shoulders. When they aren't around, the genre withers. There may have been fewer than half a dozen performers of genuine star quality in the history of the musical, certainly none since Liza Minnelli, and Jackman's rediscovery of his calling may well be what it takes to bring the genre back for good.

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