Seven years in the making, and five consecutive musical workshops later, Hugh Jackman looks like he has a bona fide hit with “The Greatest Showman.”
The triple-threat showed in person to the 20th Century Fox CinemaCon presentation in Las Vegas to give a peek of his original musical based on the life and innovative work of P.T. Barnum — the man behind the game-changing Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“I did not have this part in the bag just because I was a producer, I had to audition. My biggest competition was Chris Aronson,” Jackman joked of the 20th Century Fox Domestic Distribution chief who opened the show with a dance number.
Zac Efron, Zendaya and Michelle Williams star alongside Jackman in the rags-to-riches story — and Williams especially looked in her glory during a ballroom dance number with Jackman on a city rooftop.
Efron is back in his dancing shoes and head-over-heels for “Spider-Man: Homecoming’s” ingenue Zendaya, playing a shade closer to her glamorous real-life persona in dramatic gowns and full glam hair and makeup.
The script also has a big element of inclusiveness — Jackman’s Barnum recruits several circus performances of various sizes, afflictions and looks and makes them all stars. It has the empowering air of “American Horror Story: Freakshow” with none of the gross-out terror and doom.
It’s a pretty obvious winner, and well-earned labor of love for Jackman.
“The Greatest Showman” opens Christmas Day.