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Ben Brantley: Hugh Jackman Acts Like ‘a Flaming Queen’ in His One-Man Show

Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway
Broadhurst Theatre

Ben Brantley's analysis of Hugh Jackman's one-man show, Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, is headlined "How Hugh Jackman's Two Sides Make Women Swoon." But it should actually be called "So I Think Hugh Jackman Is Kind of Gay," because that's what the bulk of the story is.

"Let’s face it," Brantley writes. "Mr. Jackman is, unapologetically and triumphantly, the bi-est guy in town: bicultural, bimorphic, binational, biprofessional and, for entertainment purposes, bisexual." Yeah, let's face it! "I'm really not talking about sexual identity here. Well, I am, but only in a Platonic sense," he non-backpedal-backpedals. Later, Brantley returns to this idea of Jackman's ostensible dual sexualities and also to another definition of platonic. "For some women his double-jointedness makes him the perfect platonic lover: part leading-man seducer (who gives you the best sex you never had), part gay best friend (who picks up your spirits by singing show tunes with you)." Did you catch that part about how gay showtunes are? Showtunes are really, really gay. According to Brantley, "male musical-comedy love is one of those red flags that naïve young women are told to watch out for when they're searching for a mate."

Sure, Hugh Jackman says he's happily married, "and I have no evidence to the contrary," Brantley admits. But that just makes it more fun. "[D]espite — or perhaps because of — his firmly affirmed marital status Mr. Jackman often gleefully comports himself onstage in the manner of what, in less enlightened times, might have been called a flaming queen." Well, as long as we're living in these enlightened times.

Photo: null/©2011 Joan Marcus