Hugh Jackman Needs a Good Old-Fashioned MGM-like Musical

Monday, April 25, 2022

I got to see Hugh Jackman in The Music Man with the fam recently. Bought the tickets in December and the only date that worked for all four of us was in April, you know how that goes. And it was an enjoyable experience, even though it was The Music Man. The production was great, the actual musical was, fine. This was my first time ever experiencing it, I don't think it's a strong enough show, especially for today's audiences. But I did like Hugh Jackman in it, and it got me thinking about his past musicals and movie musicals.

Les Miserables' issues have nothing to do with Jackman's and the majority of the other performers' work. (Sorry, Russell Crowe.) And I think The Greatest Showman is trying so hard to be earnest and uplifting it fails as a story. What would have been more interesting was to use the artifice of a movie musical as part of P.T. Barnum’s schemes, cons, and deceptions. (But that's a rant for another day.) Hugh Jackman is the kind of star that can do a Broadway residency and an arena tour because he can, and sing all the standards and incorporate the new show tunes into his act, I want to see that Hugh Jackman. 

The kind of movie musical I would like to see Hugh Jackman in is a good old-fashioned MGM-style movie musical. Particularly of the Gene Kelly type. Dashing leading man, that's cheeky and kind of shady meets girl who turns his life around, with a dream ballet at the end. 

Here's how I think this should go. It should be a love story, maybe while they're putting on a show, that classic trope in the classic movie musicals. And he falls in love with an age appropriate co star. No 40 or 50 year old being put together with a 19 year old here. And then you could add in the finding love for the first time, or again, later in life, so there's a bit more poignancy. Might I suggest his costar in The Music Man, Sutton Foster. There can be a tap number! And you gotta do the dream ballet. You can't have Hugh Jackman and not let him dance for six minutes. 

For the songs, maybe do one or two originals, gotta get the Oscar nominations where you can, but it would be interesting to look back at the Great American Songbook with a modern lens. Songs like "Puttin' on the Ritz", "Embraceable You", "I Got Rhythm", and pretty much anything Cole Porter and Irving Berlin wrote. There's a reason those songs are classic. Maybe do some new arrangements or put them into different contexts than they've been in in previous films. The possibilities are endless!

Moral of the story is that if you get Hugh Jackman to sing and dance in something quality and you'll have a winner!

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