Boy From Oz, The

Book by Martin Sherman. Based on the life story of Peter Allen. Music and lyrics by Peter Allen. Additional music by Burt Bacharach, Jeff Barry, Michael Callen, Christopher Cross, David Foster, Tom Keane and Marsha Malamet; Additional lyrics by Adrienne Anderson, Marie Cowan, A.B. “Banjo” Paterson, Dean Pitchford. The original Broadway production opened on 16 October 2003 and was directed by Philip William McKinley, with choreography by Joey McKneely. The production closed on 12 September 2004, running for a total of 364 performances.

Synopsis & Musical Numbers

THE BOY FROM OZ

Beth Fowler in THE BOY FROM OZ

The show begins with Peter in concert (THE LIVES OF ME). He takes us back to his childhood in 1950s Tenterfield, Australia, where as a young boy names Peter Woolnough, he sang in local pubs (WHEN I GET MY NAME IN LIGHTS). In the 1960s, Peter got together with Chris Bell and formed an act called the Allen Brothers. They perform one of their songs (LOVE CRAZY) on Australian bandstand. Although they have some success in Australia, it isn’t long before they’re playing at the Hilton in Hong Kong to Chinese businessmen. But one evening, someone else is in the hotel bar – the legendary Judy Garland. Peter convinces her to sing with them (ALL I WANTED WAS THE DREAM), and they all hit the town after the performance. Judy sees something special in Peter, and agrees to make the Allen brothers her opening act back in New York (ONLY AN OLDER WOMAN).

THE BOY FROM OZ

Isabel Keating and Hugh Jackman in THE BOY FROM OZ

Being in New York is all that Peter ever dreamed of. He’s also introduced to Judy’s daughter, Liza, and there’s an immediate attraction (BEST THAT YOU CAN DO). Judy is afraid of Liza being hurt (DON’T WISH TOO HARD), but she and Peter are too much in love (COME SAVE ME). At Peter and Liza’s apartment, Liza walks in on one of Peter’s all night parties (CONTINENTAL AMERICAN). Although they are in love, their lifestyles are very different, causing some tension. In contrast to Peter’s excesses, Liza is working very hard (SHE LOVES TO HEAR THE MUSIC). Her world comes crumbling down when her mother passes away (QUIET PLEASE, THERE’S A LADY ON STAGE). It’s also the end for Peter and Liza’s marriage (I’D RATHER LEAVE WHILE I’M IN LOVE). Peter returns to Australia to visit his mother, but finds that you really can’t go home again (NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR).

THE BOY FROM OZ

Stephanie J. Block and Hugh Jackman in THE BOY FROM OZ

Back in the U.S., Peter has gone solo, and performs his new act (BI-COASTAL). He also has a new love in his life, a hard-working and down-to-earth man named Greg Connell. Greg has a tough time understanding Peter’s world, and worries that he can’t fit in there without losing himself (IF YOU WERE WONDERING). The highlights in Peter’s career keep coming as he wins an Oscar for song-writing and performs at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes (EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN). He is surprised to learn that his mother is also in love, but along with her happiness comes tragedy for Peter. Greg is sick, and tries to push Peter away, but he is selfless for once and stays with him to the end (LOVE DON’T NEED A REASON).

THE BOY FROM OZ

Hugh Jackman in THE BOY FROM OZ

Peter also begins to suffer from AIDS. Greg’s spirit is with him (I HONESTLY LOVE YOU), and Liza gives her support as well (YOU AND ME). Peter returns to Australia for a triumphant concert in Sydney (I STILL CALL AUSTRALIA HOME), and tries to tell his mother about his illness, but can’t find the words (DON’T CRY OUT LOUD).

Eventually, he succumbs to the disease, but not before going out in style with a big production number (ONCE BEFORE I GO / I GO TO RIO).

Discussion

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