Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer
 

Hugh Jackman singing to wife Deborra-Lee Furness in the audience

 

A birthday moment on stage with Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Fox Filmed Entertainment Jim Gianopulos, Hugh Jackman and cast of One Night Only

 

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Fox Filmed Entertainment Jim Gianopulos, Ann Gianopulos, Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman

 

 

A Resounding Success!
A Fantastic Evening for Hugh Jackman and MPTF

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Hugh, happy birthday to you,” sang a sold-out crowd of 3,000 on Saturday, Oct. 12 following the second act of Hugh Jackman:  One Night Only show in Los Angeles. What might have seemed like the largest birthday party the city has seen was actually a benefit for MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund), an organization with a mission that Jackman has taken to heart.

“Our industry is like one big family,” said Jackman as he bantered with the crowd following a medley of Peter Allen songs. “What else is a family for than taking care of people who need help? And that’s why what MPTF does is so important.”

From his opening song, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” from the musical Oklahoma (for which Jackman won the Oliver award), to the final auction that saw signed Wolverine memorabilia, a Hugh Jackman personalized FIAT 500e, and even the literal shirt off of his back (signed and framed, of course), Jackman kept the audience enthralled.

Taking a cue from MPTF's own A Fine Romance event, which celebrates the long relationship between the stage and the screen, Jackman played a clip from the film Les Miserables, before performing the song "Who Am I" – the first time ever live on the stage. The performance received one of many standing ovations of the night.

Between sets, Jackman would tell stories and banter with audience members on a variety of topics. This intimacy added a unique and personal style to the already remarkable show.

“How are we doing, balcony,” Hugh would yell to the mezzanine levels. And his response was always a roar of applause. On other occasions, he would venture into the orchestra section. High fives abounded, and many people in the audience, including industry icons such as Tom Cruise, Brian Singer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Jim Gianopulos were called out by name -- and sometimes ribbed by the man

Jackman also sang a duet with Richard Marx, which included more of Jackman’s sly humor. Marx and Jackman sang “Right Here Waiting,” with Marx also playing guitar. As the second verse approached, Marx gave Jackman the mic, asking, “You do know the second verse right?” Jackman knew some of it, but needed coaching from Marx who fed him his lines before they were sung.

Jackman was accompanied by a 28-piece orchestra led by Patrick Voccariello, and  “his girls,” dancers and singers Emily Tyra, Hillary Michael Thompson, and Anne Otto, who helped bring such numbers as “Singin’ in the Rain” to life with tap shoes and, of course, umbrellas. And there was another guest group very dear to Hugh’s heart as well…

Near the show’s finale, Jackman was joined on stage by two men playing didgeridoos and Olive Knight, an aboriginal woman famous in Australia for her work on securing equal rights for aboriginal people, a topic near and dear to Jackman. Together, they performed “Over the Rainbow,” with beautiful backing vocals from Emily Tyra, in one of the most sincere moments of the evening. As Hugh Jackman sang, Knight repeated the words “I had a dream and the dream has come true” in her native Walmajarri language as images of the Australian Outback and its native people appeared on the screen behind them.

Whether Jackman was dancing across the entire stage, maracas in hand and dancers in tow, or singing a love song while seated on the piano, his music kept the crowd entranced. Between songs, Jackman joked, told stories, and thought quickly on his feet, further enhancing the entire experience. His wit was on full display, for example, after singing “The Way You Look Tonight,” for his wife Deborra-Lee Furness,  a crowd member yelled “I love Deborra-Lee.” Hugh quickly replied, “Not as much as me.”

Following his One Night Only performance, Hugh held an auction to benefit MPTF and helped raise $145,000 on items such as the claws he wore in The Wolverine, private movie screenings, and a FIAT 500e which he signed.  “Remember, these are tax-free dollars going to a good cause,” he’d tell the audience, helping to keep the bidding lively. During the auction, Jim Gianopulos, the chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment and an MPTF board member, joined Jackman on stage and, together, the two raised awareness for MPTF and its mission. Gianopulos’ contribution to the event included helping to secure the venue and sponsors that led to the evening’s overwhelming success.

“When you combine the incredible talent and passion of superstar Hugh Jackman, the determined leadership of Jim and Ann Gianopulos, the enormous marketing and sponsorship support of American Express, Dolby Labs, Fiat, Fox Studios, People magazine and Delta Airlines with a loyal fan base as well donors,” said Ken Scherer, CEO of the MPTF Fund, “what you get is one spectacular evening that raised over $1.8 million for MPTF while entertaining over 3000 people at The Dolby Theatre.”

MPTF is so grateful to Hugh Jackman, our sponsors and all our friends at 20th Century Fox and The Wolverine for making Hugh Jackman...One Night Only a truly historic evening!

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