By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 08, 2002 10:00 AM

“Kate & Leopold” sex symbol Hugh Jackman, who also inspired some heavy breathing by movie fans when he appeared in 2000’s “X-Men,” will soon be up close and personal with theatergoers, reports The New York Times. The good-looking Australian actor, 33, will star in a workshop production of the musical “The Boy From Oz,” about the late singer-songwriter from Down Under, Peter Allen, who died in 1992 of complications from AIDS. Allen was a dancer and lounge singer who caught the eye of singing legend Judy Garland when he was appearing at the Hong Kong Hilton in 1964. Three years later, he married her daughter, Liza Minnelli, though they were soon separated and officially divorced in 1974. Allen, whose songs include the disco anthem “I Go to Rio,” rarely kept secret his sexual orientation, at a time when sexual orientation was kept secret. The musical, which has already been a great success in Australia, says The Times, will explore all that, as well as other aspects of Allen’s life and career. The play’s book is written by Martin Sherman, whose drama “Bent” told of two gay men imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. The score is taken from the Allen songbook. And though the workshop, to take place in April, will not be open to the public, reveals the newspaper, a full production of “The Boy From Oz” is expected in the spring of 2003. As for Jackman, he is no stranger to the musical stage, having starred in the leading role of Curly in the recent London revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Oklahoma!” — for which he belted, among other standards, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.”