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28 December 2021

Hugh Jackman praises Broadway understudy who covered Music Man actress after she tested positive for Covid

28 December 2021

Hugh Jackman declared that “real superheroes do not wear capes” as he praised an understudy for stepping in at the last minute when the leading lady of his Broadway show tested positive for Covid-19.

The Australian actor, 53, is currently starring in The Music Man at New York City’s Winter Garden Theatre.

Addressing the audience during curtain call on Thursday, December 23, he praised swing Kathy Voytko, who covered the role of Marian Paroo after original actress Sutton Foster had to miss the performance after contracting the virus.

“[A swing] covers up to ten roles. Kathy, when she turned up for work at 12 o’clock, could’ve played any of eight roles. She found out at 12 noon today, and at one o’clock, she had her very first rehearsal as Marian Paroo,” the Greatest Showman star explained in a video which has since gone viral.

Jackman then had all of the understudies and swings in the cast step forward for a round of applause.

“This is a time we’ve never known. We’re in our fourth preview, we’re all just sort of learning, so swings and understudies have not had a chance to learn,” he continued.

“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!’”

Adding: “It humbles me. The courage it brings, the dedication, the talent. The swings, the understudies, they are the bedrock of Broadway.”

Jackman said that the latest Covid surge has been troubling to Broadway, with many shows being forced to shutter at a time when it usually enjoys larger audiences over the Christmas period.

‘It’s happening all over Broadway. This is a time we’ve never known,’ Jackman said

“We’re in our fourth preview, we’re all just sort of learning, so swings and understudies have not had a chance to learn.

“Take it from me, real superheroes do not wear capes,” the X-Men actor joked.

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