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the boy from oz

Kelley co-choreographed The Boy From Oz Arena Spectacular starring Hugh Jackman, working with US Director/Choreographer Kenny Ortega.

kelley says

In 2006 I had the enormous pleasure of collaborating on Ben Gannon and Robert Fox’s Arena version of the Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman. I have to say that working with Hugh Jackman was an absolute delight. You cannot meet a nicer person in showbiz.

 It was also great to work on the storytelling of a true Australian Legend as was our Peter Allen.

 I choreographed the show along with the director Kenny Ortega and we won the Helpmann award in 2007 for best original choreography in a musical.

Won of my favourite highlights of working on the show was choreographing a number called “Sure Thing Baby” which was performed by Angela Toohey playing Liza Minelli. It was my chance to choreograph pure “Fosse” which I have always dreamt of doing and I had 30 dancers to work with and they were the cream of the crop. I also had a great assistant in Tracie Morely.

I also loved creating the rockettes sequence with 15 boys dressed as rockettes to make the line of 30. It was hard to choreograph the length of steps it would take for Hugh to run across the stage as  my legs are incredibly short in comparison to Hugh’s leg span. Afterall  he is over 6 foot and I am only 5 foot 3!!

It was such a beautiful looking show and was incredibly successful. Ben Gannon passed away not long after it finished it’s run. I am so glad he got to see his ‘baby’ in that forum looking so beautiful and doing so well.
Here’s to you Ben ... thank you for the opportunity.




the boy from oz
The Boy From Oz Arena Spectacular - Cast and Crew

the boy from oz
Kelley with Kenny Ortega


press

the boy from oz arena spectacular Dazzling Boy From Oz

The musical The Boy From Oz could be subtitled The Hugh Jackman Show, such is his dominance in the spectacular arena production currently touring Australia.

And while you dont get the lavish stage props of the theatre in the arena production at the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, this is more than made up for by the spectacular costumes, large ensemble and orchestra, and clever use of film and special effects on a giant screen that forms the backdrop to the stage.

The dancing is spectacular and much of the credit goes to choreographer Kelley Abbey who has danced and choreographed for theatre, film and TV in Australia for more than two decades.
Danny Gocs - Theatre Review Melbourne - August 2006



the boy from oz arena spectacular Mad about the boy

From the opening number, Not the Boy Next Door, Hugh Jackman not only reveals himself to be a hugely energetic performer but a full-fledged star with a strong, stirring voice and tremendous presence, engagement and heart.

The second act is brassier and bolder than the first yet also more tender and truthful. Everything Old is New Again is excitingly realised by Kenny Ortega and co-choreographer Kelley Abbey as the Rockettes step into formation with military precision. The kick line looks and works a treat.

The Boy from Oz is more of a concert than earlier incarnations and a whole lot showier. In a word: dazzling.
Bryce Hallett - The Sydney Morning Herald - 5 August 2006



the boy from oz arena spectacular Jackman back home, on form and in song

What a wizard of a show ... We've known for a while that Hugh Jackman is star material - his films prove that - but here he gets to be everything a performer could wish for. Starting with a big entrance - a flying white grand piano with Jackman astride in an outrageously flashy sequin suit.

There are plenty of songs and the second half delivers the big numbers before closing with I Go To Rio, complete with dancing girls, giant fruit and, of course, a pair of maracas.
Martin Ball - The Age - 12 August 2006



the boy from oz arena spectacular Super Boy From Oz saddles up a treat

In its passage from relatively conventional musical biography to arena spectacular, The Boy From Oz has become positively and enjoyably postmodern. It is a one-man show with a cast of hundreds that operates in several universes.

Despite the vast scale of the enterprise - Michael Tyack's splendid orchestra, the splashy dance numbers, the cossies, the sophisticated projections, the flying piano and all - there is a surprising and pleasing sense of intimacy.
Deborah Jones - The Weekend Australian - 5 August 2006



the boy from oz arena spectacular Boy what a star
Hugh Jackman last night turned the 12,000-seat Rod Laver Arena into his own private caberet club.

It is a tribute to Jackman's showmanship that he did not steal the show from his supporting cast with its 150-plus performers ... when the dancing girls take the stage, it's a feast of colour and movement.
Alison Barclay - Herald Sun - 12 August 2006