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Hugh Jackman's Big Year

Hugh Jackman may be known as an action movie star, but he got his start on the stage, in his native Australia.

These days, as The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy found out for The Road to the Tonys series, he's surprising audiences and bringing down the house in the Broadway musical "The Boy From Oz."

May 10 was a very good date for Hugh Jackman. He woke up to find out his new film "Van Helsing" was the No. 1 movie in America, and he received his first Tony nomination, as Best Actor for "The Boy From Oz."

"My wife walked in and said, 'The studio is on the phone, you just got nominated for a Tony and your movie's made over $50 million.' I just thought I should record this and put it on an alarm clock and I'll wake up to this every day," remembers Jackman.

The actor is no stranger to musical theater. After making a name for himself on the Australian stage, he had his breakout role in the critically hailed London production of "Oklahoma." That production caught Hollywood's eye. Now he's seen as a movie star dabbling on Broadway.

"On opening weekend [for 'Van Helsing'], 10 times the amount of people saw that movie than will see the entire run of "The Boy From Oz." And that's a year's work," says Jackman. "It's funny. I know people come to our show to see Wolverine and boy, do they get a shock."

In "The Boy From Oz," Jackman plays the flamboyant Australian entertainer Peter Allen.

Jackman says, "The real blessing about playing Peter Allen is that he would just do whatever came into his head. He was pretty brave as a performer, and that has brought out that side of me -- that I was too nervous to do in the beginning, and now I relish in it and really look forward to do it. And, you know, New Yorkers are just so much fun."

And audience members seem to be having just as much fun with the Australian actor.

Jackman remembers, "One woman got up and she was kind of being all sexy with me and doing all this thing and I thought, 'Oh, I'll call her bluff.' So I said, 'Alright, darling. I'll take off whatever you take off.' And whoop -- off came her top in a heartbeat."

The actor says performing in "The Boy From Oz" is exciting, and he's learned more about himself in the process.

Jackman explains: "Acting had always been a kind of way to play someone else. Like to play someone else was easier to play yourself. And even though I'm playing Peter Allen, it has made me more comfortable with things like this, hosting the Tony awards -- just being on the stage without a script, just interacting and connecting with the audience. He also talks a lot about being homesick for Australia, so it's made me a bit homesick."

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