Covid closes Hugh Jackman Broadway show after his passionate speech about understudies goes viral

Jackson says he has developed mild Covid symptoms, but is feeling fine

Maanya Sachdeva
Wednesday 29 December 2021 04:47
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<p>Actor Hugh Jackman tests positive for Covid-19 </p>

Actor Hugh Jackman tests positive for Covid-19

Performances of Hugh Jackman’s Broadway show The Music Man were cancelled until the new year after the actor revealed he had contracted Covid-19.

On Tuesday (28 December), the X-Men actor posted a short video of himself wearing a mask, explaining that he had tested positive for the coronavirus infection earlier in the day.

Jackman said his symptoms were mild — “a cold, a scratchy throat, and a bit of a runny nose” — and that he was feeling fine.

The 53-year-old actor continued: “I’m just going to do everything I can to get better ASAP and, as soon as I’m cleared, I’ll be back on stage.”

The Music Man is scheduled to return to the Winter Garden Theatre in New York on 2 January 2022. However, headliner Jackman, who plays Professor Harold Hill in Meredith Wilson’s Broadway classic, will not perform on-stage until 6 January.

The actor’s diagnosis came days afterThe Music Man leading lady Sutton Foster tested positive for Covid-19, ahead of the show’s fourth preview performance on 24 December.

With less than eight hours’ till showtime, fellow actor Kathy Voytko stepped in for Foster — cast as librarian Marian Paroo — on Christmas Eve.

In a now-viral video posted by actor Katherine Winter, Jackman celebrated the “swings and understudies” as the “bedrock of Broadway” following Voytko’s maiden performance opposite the Tony-winner.

Jackson said: “Kathy, when she turned up at work at 12 o’clock, could have played any of eight roles. It happened to be the leading lady.”

He then invited the show’s swings and understudies to the front of the stage, and explained: “They watch from the corner of a room while we rehearse, while we get to practice over and over again. They just get to watch and write notes and then five hours before the performance they’re told, ‘you’re on by the way, you’ve got a wig fitting, go!’”

Swings must typically learn six to eight parts of a Broadway show so they can cover as many roles as possible, and fill in where required.

“So to all of these people here – the swings – and I’m emotional because it humbles me – their courage, their brilliance, their dedication, their talent,” the actor continued, as the crowd cheered, “The swings, the understudies, they are the bedrock of Broadway.”

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