Tickets for "The Man. The Music. The Show. World Tour" are on sale now
A showman, indeed!
The actor made a name for himself in theater in 1998, appearing in London’s West End production of Oklahoma!. He went on to earn his first Tony Award for The Boy from Oz in 2004 before appearing in big-screen musicals, scoring a Golden Globe for Les Misérables (2013) and acclaim for last year’s smash The Greatest Showman, in which he portrayed circus master P.T. Barnum.
PEOPLE caught up with the 50-year-old Australian performer about The Man. The Music. The Show. World Tour, tickets for which are now on sale.
What can we expect on this tour?
Definitely some Greatest Showman songs, definitely Les Mis, some Boy from Oz. I do an homage to movie musicals because I grew up with them. The show is constantly telling stories. Sometimes in the middle of a song, I’ll stop, but I’m trying to give a glimpse into this crazy life that I’ve had, that I’m living, that I never thought was gonna happen. I give you some insight into those turning points, into how they happened.
When I was little, I used to watch those Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, re-runs Friday afternoon, after playing rugby; I used to love ‘em. I sing songs that somehow mean something to me, and I’ll tell you a story before why. It could be something to do with my family, something to do with my upbringing, something random. I’m still tinkering on it. And guests, I love having guests. I love for the audience to go, “Oh, well this is only gonna happen tonight!” And even without the guests, I really try to mix things up. I don’t know if you’ve seen Adele in concert. I just love that when she’s like, “Ya know, woke up today, went to the park with my son…” and we’re like — oh, she’s just chatting, like she’s in her living room! And then sings the hell out of a song!
In terms of music and recording, would you ever record a standards album or something like that?
I actually attempted one 15 years ago; I thought it was really bad. I was an actor. Weirdly got into musicals, out of left field. And now all of a sudden I was in a recording studio singing songs I didn’t connect with. But now I would love to do some original songs. I’m hoping [Greatest Showman songwriters] Justin [Paul] and Benj [Pasek] are gonna write an original song for me for this tour. I would love to do that. What [Michael] Bublé has done with his original stuff and how he’s moved on … You know, because him, like me, have lived kind of extraordinary lives we probably didn’t expect — ups and down, family, kids, everything. And so I feel like I’ve got things I can say now.
If you were to sum up your life in one song title, what would that be?
Wow. I’m not gonna sing this song because at this point it would be sacrilege, but the “This Is Me” song: I think everybody relates to that song. The show, in a way, is kind of going, it’s like, “Yeah, Wolverine is part of me, yeah, Greatest Showman, Les Mis, but there’s a whole lot of other stuff you don’t know that’s a part of me.”
I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I realize it’s not about being perfect or always strong; I think one thing I’ve learned from playing the part of Barnum is yes, you can dream big and still be vulnerable and disappointed when things don’t work out, all those emotions. So “This Is Me” would be the song. Don’t worry, Keala, I’m not gonna sing it! Keala’s gonna sing it. She’s gonna come out and sing at a whole bunch of the concerts; she’s a great friend of mine, but to hear her sing that live … it’s one of the most powerful things.
Your kids (Oscar, 18, and Ava, 13) are obviously old enough to know what you do. Do they think of you as a rock star, as a movie star?
No! No, no, no. I don’t see myself as a big rock star. I still see myself as an actor. I still pinch myself I get the chance to have a theatrical experience in arenas and share different stuff. There is not a night I take for granted. Never. I will put everything into it because I do it from the place there is a good chance I’ll never get to do this again. And then I think it’s probably time for me to go back and do an actual musical. Play a character. I think that’s what’s gonna be after this.