I was honored to be featured in a recent profile in Nooga.com and one of the questions I answered was, “What is something most people don’t know about you?”. Hmmm, I thought to myself, I needed something good, right? As I sat in my office trying to think of something worthy, my eyes surveyed the room and BOOM. There it was – the picture of Hugh Jackman and me.
(Nooga.com): What is something most people don’t know about you?
(ME): I’ve met Hugh Jackman twice and kissed him.
So, after posting the article to my Facebook page, I received many congratulatory comments about the article (thank you Chloe Morrison), including those wanting to know more about my Hugh Jackman encounters.
So here goes…in 2000 the move X-Men was released and my hubby, being a huge fan of the comic book series, dragged me along to see it. I had really no interest in it whatsoever, but it was a date night and it meant a night out. And then it happened – I was introduced to Wolverine aka Hugh Jackman on the silver screen. Who knew there would be something so alluring about a “pompadour-wearing mutant” who growled. The film, which did an amazing job emphasizing how fit Mr. Jackman was, began my movie star infatuation with Hugh Jackman.
Once in a lifetime?
In June 2003, my fabulous husband (of 22 years next month!) told me that Hugh Jackman would be appearing on Broadway in a musical called “The Boy from Oz”. I very calmy explained how we had to go see this show! Ever obliging and devoted, Bill ordered tickets to the show for that upcoming November. Not only did he get tickets, but SECOND ROW AISLE! That’s my man!
We headed out to NYC and arrived Friday evening - our tickets were for the Saturday evening performance. We took a stroll over to the Imperial Theatre and found the stage door where folks begin to line up to catch a glimpse of the performers afterward. The crowd grew quickly and people were holding on to their Playbills hoping that Hugh would sign them on his way out. AND I was one of those people!
Sure enough, Hugh came out of the door and began greeting his fans and signing autographs. I was right in the first row of fans and he stopped to sign my Playbill and I told him I was looking forward to the show tomorrow evening. I couldn’t believe he was right before my eyes. Wow! I thought THAT moment was IT! I had no idea what awaited me the next evening.
We took our seats in the second row and I claimed the aisle seat, which meant closer to the stage. Entranced for two hours by Hugh’s amazing acting, singing and dancing, I was grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Immediately following the show they were auctioning the black t-shirt that Hugh wore during the performance to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. If you were the winning bidder you not only received the autographed shirt, you would also get to go back stage to meet Hugh and take a photo with him. I remember seating in my seat thinking, “gee, that would be swell.” Not for a moment did I think this was possible.
At this point, the entire cast was standing on stage right in front of us. Awesome opportunity for eye contact with Hugh! The bidding began and I glanced around the theater trying to see who was in the game. All of a sudden, the man to my left began bidding! Who was that man? My husband! I sat there in shock and couldn’t speak.
The bidding wasn’t too heated at this point and I was just thrilled that Bill would attempt to do this for me. I would never even have considered participation in this act of capriciousness. I thought we had it at the $1,100 bid (which was more than I could bear!), but then, all of a sudden from the back of the theater, a group of woman began bidding together for this chance! It went back and forth, between Bill and the lady gang in the back. I sat there numb, still unable to speak and say, “What are you doing? Are you crazy?” Back and forth it went – until it reached $4,800! That is when Bill stood up and shouted to the women in the back – “Come on! I’m doing this for my wife’s birthday!” The theater began clapping and the man conducting the auction offered to give away two autographed shirts to each of us for $4,500 each. Holy @%*#!
After the conclusion of the auction, they announced anyone who wanted to have their picture taken with Hugh could make a donation of $100. Really, after the fact? Bill could have got off for a $100. I did however, end up with the shirt that Hugh wore, just sayin’. I own Jackman DNA.
We then headed back stage to retrieve our prize. Again, I was numb and couldn’t even speak. I was thrilled that I was going to get his opportunity, but even more so, that my husband would do this for me.
We arrived backstage and Hugh Jackman was as gracious as he could be. I, on the other hand, was starstruck and tried to speak, but was barely coherent. Bill had to pretty much translate for me. Finally, I mustered the ability to speak the words that Hugh would remember for the rest of his natural life…”You touch people’s lives.” Yep, that’s it. Once in lifetime opportunity and I go total dork! We took our pictures with Hugh to mark the occasion and that was it. Or, so I thought…
Explaining the donation letter to the Stage Door Manager.
Fast forward a year and we were heading back to NYC to see The Boy from Oz (one more time before it closed) and Wicked. I had brought with me an 8 x 10 of the photo of Hugh and me hoping that I would be able to get him to autograph it. Along with that, we brought the letter we received acknowledging our generous donation, I thought this could be helpful. I was also hoping to grab a kiss this time, as last time, I didn’t have the ability to think clearly and get one.
So the plan was to head to the stage door and see what we could accomplish. One year later the back stage was much busier. Hundreds of people (mainly female, and who called themselves the “Oz-alots”) were lined up trying to catch a glimpse of Hugh. I thought there was no way I’d get through. So what did I do? I called to Kevin, the stage door manager who we met last year, and showed him our letter and photo and to see if I could get Hugh to sign the picture. What did Kevin do? He opened the ropes and let me through the hundreds of waiting fans into the “inner circle” to wait for Hugh to come out. I was in the secure area right in front of Hugh’s waiting car. For real.
Talking coherently to Hugh at our second meeting.
Hugh came out greeted the waiting fans and signed autographs as usual. As he approached the car to greet me, I explained our story and he signed my picture. I also said I was remiss and forgot to ask for a kiss last year – so I got to remedy that on the spot!
And that is how I met Hugh Jackman…twice!
$4,800 Black T-shirt with Hugh Jackman DNA