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September 12, 2009

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Hollywood stars make premiere on Broadway

JAMES Bond and Wolverine have hit Broadway.

Actors Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman gave their first performance in New York on Thursday night in the play "A Steady Rain." In it, Craig and Jackman play Chicago police officers confronting professional and personal difficulties.

The 90-minute play, with just two characters, arrives in New York after a well-reviewed run in Chicago with a different cast.

Craig and Jackman have significantly increased the star power of the production. Craig skyrocketed to film stardom as the latest cinematic James Bond, and Jackman plays Wolverine in the "X-Men" movies.

They drew a standing ovation from the sold-out Gerald Schoenfeld Theater audience on Thursday. It was Craig's Broadway debut.

Star-driven productions have become commonplace on Broadway in recent years, with notable visits from Katie Holmes and Julia Roberts. But Jackman and Craig bring a Hollywood masculinity to the stage. They aren't alone this season; Jude Law is performing in "Hamlet." Both actors have live theater experience, too.

Jackman is a Tony winner for his performance in "The Boy From Oz." He also starred in "Carousel" at Carnegie Hall and "Oklahoma!" at the National Theater in London, among others.

Craig is less seasoned on the stage but has starred in "Hurlyburly" at the Old Vic, "Angels in America" at the National Theater and "A Number" at the Royal Court Theater.

"A Steady Rain" is remarkable for its staging, through storytelling and monologues, of material traditionally the domain of the movies. Both actors sit in and roam around chairs to directly tell a tale that would normally suit the big screen, complete with car cashes and gun fights.

Jackman performs with an Italian-American accent; Craig's character has an Irish-American accent.

Producers are hoping such enthusiasm for the two stars of "A Steady Rain" translates to big box office. The ticket prices are the highest for a regular play on Broadway.


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