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Hugh Jackman returning to Broadway in The River

Friday, 17 January 2014

Hugh Jackman, who has become one of the theater world’s most lucrative draws, will return to Broadway next season starring in Jez Butterworth’s play “The River,” the producers and Mr. Jackman said on Friday.

“The River,” a spiritually searching drama about a trout-loving loner in a remote cabin and two of the women in his life, was a critically acclaimed hit in its premiere at the Royal Court Theater in London in 2012. It was Mr. Butterworth’s first new play since “Jerusalem,” another much-praised work that ran on Broadway in 2011 starring Mark Rylance, who won a Tony Award for his performance. Ian Rickson (who directed “Jersualem”) will stage the 80-minute “River,” as he did in London. The play is expected to begin performances on Broadway in early 2015.

Many theater producers consider Mr. Jackman to be a box office prize, because his popularity – he is best known as Wolverine in the X-Men action movies – has allowed them to charge exorbitant prices for tickets, up to $350. In his last outing on Broadway Mr. Jackman, who recently quit a long-gestating musical project called “Houdini” (citing his schedule), brought in a total of $14.6 million over 10 weeks for his concert performance in late 2011, which sold many $350 tickets over the busy holiday season. Prior to that, he and Daniel Craig starred in the Broadway play “A Steady Rain” in 2009, grossing $15.2 million over 13 weeks. By contrast, in his Broadway debut in the musical “The Boy From Oz” in 2003, when premium pricing strategy hadn’t been perfected and Mr. Jackman wasn’t as famous, the show grossed less per week than his later Broadway outings, for a total of $42.7 million over 51 weeks. Mr. Jackman won a Tony for “Boy From Oz.”

“The River” will be mounted on Broadway by Sonia Friedman Productions and the Royal Court. The New York Post first reported the news about the Broadway production. Mr. Jackman also tweeted about the news on Friday morning. No theater or other casting has been disclosed.

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