Hugh Jackman Praises Understudies in Emotional Broadway Speech

Actor Hugh Jackman delivered a poignant on-stage thank-you speech to understudies in New York City on December 23 after actor Kathy Voytko stepped up to replace Jackman’s fellow lead, Sutton Foster, who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Voytko performed the role of Marian Paroo in a preview performance of ‘The Music Man’ at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre just hours after her “very first rehearsal” in the role, Jackman told the audience.

“They are the bedrock of Broadway!” Jackman said of understudies, also known as “swings”, prompting rapturous applause from the audience.

“They [understudies] all know and learn 10 roles,” Jackman told the audience. “Kathy – when she turned up for work at 12 o’clock, could have played any of eight roles and it happened to be the leading lady. She found out at 12 noon today and at one o’clock, she had her very first rehearsal as Marian Paroo,” Jackman said.

‘The Music Man’ is due to officially open at the Winter Garden Theatre on February 10. Credit: Katherine Winter via Storyful

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