Hugh Jackman hopped, sang and rapped through the Tonys: how did he do?

68th Annual Tony Awards - Arrivals
A bearded Hugh Jackman was the host of the 2014 Tonys last night, and like his predecessor Neil Patrick Harris he was a highly entertaining natural. (Hugh previously hosted in 2003, 2004 and 2005.) He opened by hopping energetically through the venue, encountering various casts on his backstage journey. There were celebrity cameos, by Sting and Clint Eastwood, and he met up with NPH in an elevator, a nod to Neil’s gig hosting the last three years. When Jackman finally reached the stage to sing a quick intro he was only mildly out of breath, leading me to wonder if some of his opening segment was pre-taped and just how incredibly in shape he must be. (Hugh’s hopping bit was a tribute to old Broadway, particularly Bobby Van in the 1953 musical film Small Town Girl, a video of which was playing on a monitor backstage as he hopped by.)

The ceremony featured excellent musical performances from so many different shows that I yearned to travel to NY and see them live, which was surely the point. My favorites were Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Fantasia singing “Sunny Side of the Street,” from “After Midnight” (they opened after Hugh), James Monroe Iglehart from “Aladdin” doing “Never Had a Friend Like Me,” Alan Cumming’s sexy performance of “Willkommen,” from “Cabaret,” and Neil Patrick Harris in full drag doing “Sugar Daddy” from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” NPH danced on a car and even sat on Kevin Bacon’s lap in the audience.

One of the most talked about moments of the night was Jackman’s rap of the “Music Man” opening, along with LL Cool J and T.I. Jackman isn’t much of a rapper but he brought it for that number, which left many audience members bemused. (Unfortunately I can’t find some of the performances online, but I did find Hugh’s opening act, and The Tony website has the acceptance speeches.)

Some of the performers won Tonys, including NPH for Best Leading Actor in a musical, James Monroe Inglehart for Best Featured Actor in a musical and Jessie Mueller (of the Carole King Musical), for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. (She did “I Feel The Earth Move” in a duet with King.) A full list of winners is here. Other winners included Bryan Cranston, for Best Leading Actor in a Play in “All the Way,” and Audra McDonald, for Best Leading Actress in a Play, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.”

68th Annual Tony Awards - Press Room

Bryan Cranston’s play, “All The Way,” won for Best Play while “A Gentleman’s Guide to Murder” won best musical. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” was awarded Best Revival of a Musical while “A Raisin in The Sun” was Best Revival of a Play. There was controversy over the fact that Denzel Washington wasn’t even nominated for best actor, something that director Kenny Leon alluded to in his speech for Best Director when he said “Denzel, Denzel, Denzel.”

Clint Eastwood announced the Best Director and Best Producer Tonys, and he stumbled over his lines and had visible trouble reading the teleprompter. An earlier bit, featuring Jackman and Idina Menzel steering Eastwood away from talking to a chair backstage, seemed to hit a little too close to home.

At the end of the night, Jackman directed all the Tony winners in the audience to come up on stage with him as he did a medley of hits including “On Broadway,” and “Lullaby of Broadway.” He of course started hopping and everyone joined him. It was an excellent bookend to an evening celebrating the best of live entertainment. I came away wishing that Jackman could host the Oscars again soon. The Academy Awards were never better than when Jackman hosted in 2009.

Photo credit: WENN and Getty Images

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25 Responses to “Hugh Jackman hopped, sang and rapped through the Tonys: how did he do?”

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  1. Diane says:

    Jackman was absolutely the quintessential showman as expected. He is a true class act and the Tonys are always the most polished, entertaining award show on television. Bravo!

  2. L says:

    Was so happy for Lena Hall from Hedwig. I saw that show, and she is AMAZING in that role.

    Also quite pleased for Audra. 6 Tonys, and 1 in every category that a actress can be in. She’s amazing.

    I doubt the hopping was pretaped as it was mostly all one steadycam shot-and the audience was there. Methinks Hugh is just in that good of shape (and he actually was pretty winded when he tried to sing once he got back on stage)

  3. mia girl says:

    There are not enough positive adjectives to describe Hugh Jackman.

    I smiled through the entire program, never bored for a minute. He gives it his all and always delivers.

    I watch GOTs after and wished Hugh was there too. With his level of pure commitment he would have single handily slaughtered all those Wildlings.
    “You know everything Hugh Jackman”.

  4. Hannah says:

    “The Academy Awards were never better than when Jackman hosted in 2009.” So true! That opening number was so fun and clever!

  5. Merritt says:

    I thought Hugh did a great job. I loved the way he sang some of the awards presentations. Very charming.

    Does anyone else remember when Lena Hall was still going by the name Celina, and on the MTV show ” Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods”?

  6. Lea says:

    Audra made history!!! I cried so much during her speech!

  7. Charlotte says:

    But…What did Deb have on her feet???

  8. Louise says:

    Bryan Cranston is sexy. Hugh has had work done, I think. Look at his eyes. Anyone? Shame he didn’t need it.

  9. Kelly says:

    He was incredible! The Music Man rap was sublime, and I don’t even care for rap. He’s really slimmed down since X-Men.

  10. Meredith says:

    I’ve never seen the Tonys before and was wanting to kill time before Game of Thrones but OMG I ended up just letting DVR capture Game of Thrones because the Tonys are so much fun!

    Loved the Aladdin bit and that the Genie won later. His acceptance speech was gold!

  11. serena says:

    I just love this man, there is nothing he can’t do. Also NHP + Jackman ???? Are you kidding me?? That’s an awesome duo! Man, I would have loved to be there..

  12. Alita says:

    Q: how did he do?

    A: it’s Hugh Jackman … He did an amazing job, as usual!

    Love Hugh Jackman, he is a born performer in apparently every genré and medium … I’d not be surprised to discover he was an accomplished mime or trapeze artist! I also think his lovely and bright wife DLF has a hell of a lot to put up with from the media etc, it may be so tedious for her.

    Well done to Hugh, keep it coming!

  13. Mia4S says:

    He is so sweet and so bloody talented! I don’t love the scruffy beard but it would be a small price to pay! ;-)

  14. Sighs says:

    Hugh was great because he’s Hugh. Honestly, though, the only musical performance that made me want to see the show was “Beautiful”. It was the only one that had something real going on. Broadway has gotten so cheesetastic (from a musical theatre perspective). I’d see any and all of the straight plays.
    Congrats to Audra. She’s such a great talent.

  15. Tig says:

    I absolutely loved the show- and Jackman is just the best( tho would hate to have to pick bet him and NPH!). The level of talent in that theater was just breathtaking. And if Aladdin ever tours, I will be there just for that number!

  16. AryaMartell says:

    Did anyone else feel like Hugh tried way too hard?

  17. Hayley says:

    This is the only awards show I ever watch because it’s an absolute ball all the way through. Despite being 3 hours long, my roommate said “it’s over already? that just flew by!” Wonderful performances (I have a long list of songs to look for on iTunes now). But how could you not mention that Audra’s win made history by making her the woman with the most Tony awards EVER?! It was such a great moment, with the whole audience on their feet!

  18. Chezza says:

    Love Audra, so deserved. Best performance was Idina, she had the most difficult song and belted her face off.

  19. Mila says:

    Audra sings to much to win best actress in a play, 16 songs is a lot.

  20. mayamae says:

    Loved Hugh’s homage to The Music Man. I was disappointed by Mathew Broderick’s version – he tried too hard to not be Robert Preston. Please re-make with Hugh!

    Did not know Alan Cumming was back playing the role he won a Tony for in 1998.

    I’ve always loved Audra McDonald, but enough is enough. Is she really six times more talented than the other women in her category? She’s theatre’s Meryl Streep – nominated for every role.

  21. MissTrial says:

    I love Hugh Jackman and NPH. I want to marry them both, I know the obstacles and legalities but I don’t care.

    And this: what can’t Bryan Cranston do?!

  22. bananapanda says:

    I loved the Carole King song too! Nobody’s talking about it. Jessie Mueller is amazing.