Hugh Jackman to star in The River on Broadway

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Tony Award winner and the host of this year's awards ceremony Hugh Jackman will return to Broadway this year to star in the Broadway premiere of the Royal Court Theatre production of Jez Butterworth's latest play The River, directed by Ian Rickson, which will begin performances at Circle in the Square on 31 Oct 2014, officially opening on 16 Nov 2014 and continuing it's strictly limited engagement to 25 Jan 2015.

Leading West End producer Sonia Friedman will produce the three-hander show, whose cast will also feature Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo.

Synopsis: 'A remote cabin on the cliffs, a man and a woman, and a moonless night. Jez Butterworth's The River asks when we find each other, are we trying to recapture someone we once lost? The writer director team who brought you Jerusalem returns with a bewitching new story.'

This production marks Jez Butterworth's sixth play, and in turn, sixth collaboration between himself and director Ian Rickson. Mr. Rickson has previously directed the world premiere productions of Mr. Butterworth's other plays 'Mojo', 'The Night Heron', 'The Winterling', 'Parlour Song' and the multi-award-winning West End and Broadway production of 'Jerusalem'.

The River was first developed by Sonia Friedman Productions and was subsequently produced by the Royal Court Theatre in London. It was presented from 18 Oct to 17 Nov 2012 in the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, in a production directed by Mr. Rickson, also featuring Laura Donnelly, who makes her Broadway debut alongside Cush Jumbo.

This is what critics had to say about the London production:

- "The River is like a subtly crafted piece of chamber music. It is teasing, haunting and hushed. It is also damnably difficult to write about, as there is a mystery at its heart that I must not reveal."
Charles Spencer, THE TELEGRAPH

- "Spellbinding, exquisitely modulated. Lyrical, occasionally droll and ultimately desolating, this intimate three-hander unfolds like a tantalizing cross between a piece of deeply felt poetry and a sleight-of-hand puzzle."

- "The River is subtle, sleek and dark. Here is a sense of the mysterious and of kinship with others long gone. It is perhaps about time and eternity, about that spot on the river that, while always the same, is always changing. It's an eerie piece, given a spellbinding production by Ian Rickson. A wonderful play, glinting and elusive as a fish."

The creative team behind The River features scenic design by Ultz, costume design, lighting design by Charles Balfour and sound design by Ian Dickinson for Autograph.


Hugh Jackman is an Academy Award®-nominated, Golden Globe and Tony Award®-winning actor. The Australian native was most recently on Broadway in his one-man show 'Hugh Jackman - Back on Broadway' in the fall of 2011. Jackman's dedication to the Broadway community was feted at the 2012 Tony Awards®, where he received a Special Award recognizing his accomplishments as a performer and humanitarian. He previously starred on Broadway in Keith Huff's 'A Steady Rain', opposite Daniel Craig, and as 1970s singer-songwriter Peter Allen in 'The Boy From Oz', for which he received the 2004 Tony Award® for Best Actor in a musical. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for his performance in 'Oklahoma!' (National Theatre) and other theatrical credits include 'Carousel' (Carnergie Hall), 'Sunset Boulevard' and Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'. Jackman is widely know for his recurring film role as Comic Book Hero Wolverine in Marvel's X-Men franchise, which includes the movies 'X-Men' (2000), 'X-Men 2' (2003), 'X-Men: The Last Stand' (2006), 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' (2009), a cameo in 'X-Men: First Class' (2011) and 'The Wolverine' (2013). Jackman reunited with the X-Men team for 'X-Men: Days of Future Past', which is set for release this month and there are also rumours of a sequel to 2013's 'The Wolverine'. Other notable film credits include Jean Valjean in the film adaptation of 'Les Miserables', for which he earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical, and an Academy Award® nomination, 'Real Steel', Baz Luhrmann's 'Australia', Darren Aronofsky's 'The Fountain', Christopher Nolan's 'The Prestige', and Woody Allen's 'Scoop'. In Animation, he has also voiced leading characters in DreamWorks' 'Rise of the Guardians', Warner Bros.' 'Happy Feet' and Aardman's 'Flushed Away'. He has served as host of the Tony Awards® three years in a row from 2003 to 2005, and will once again serve as host for the 68th Annual Tony Awards®, live from Radio City Music Hall this Summer.

Laura Donnelly has appeared in London's West End in 'The River' (Royal Court), 'Philadelphia, Here I Come!' (Donmar), 'Judgment Day' (Almeida), and 'Romeo and Juliet' (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre). She is also known for her TV roles of Sarah Kay in 'The Fall' (BBC), Violet Heath in 'Missing' (ABC), Freya in 'Merlin' (Kudos), Barbara Best in 'Best' (BBC), Katy in 'Occupation' (Kudos), Leanne O'Dwyer in 'Be More Ethic' (BBC), Aoife in 'Rough Diamond' (BBC/RTE), Maya in 'Hex' (Shine), Fleur in 'Casualty' (BBC), and Beth in 'Sugar Rush'(Shine).

Cush Jumbo is an Olivier Award nominee. She was nominated for 'Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre' for her self-penned solo show 'Josephine and I'. She also performed at the West End's Donmar Warehouse in an all-female version of Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar', later reprising the role at St. Ann's Warehouse in New York. She was again nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance. She has also appeared at Manchester's Royal Exchange as Nora in 'A Doll's House' and as Rosalind in 'As You Like It'. She has appeared on Television series such as 'Vera' (ITV1), and 'Getting On', and in the films 'Remainder' and 'The Inbetweeners'.

- by Tom Millward

Hugh Jackman

Originally published on

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