He may have morphed beyond recognition as Wolverine in X-Men and worn an oversized hat as Van Helsing but Hugh Jackman reckons he's got "a Peter Allen battery" in his back.
After playing the deprecating, fun-loving Allen almost 400 times on Broadway, Jackman will reconnect with The Boy from Oz in August for what promises to be the most lavish production of the home-grown musical to date.
Dressed in jacket, T-shirt and jeans, the actor was at the centre of a media juggernaut at the Hilton Hotel yesterday to spruik the arena spectacular and to introduce his leading ladies.
Two of the musical's original stars, Chrissie Amphlett and Angela Toohey, will reprise their mother and daughter roles of Judy Garland and Liza Minelli, while Colleen Hewitt has been signed on to play Allen's mother, Marion Woolnough.
Jackman, one of Hollywood's most bankable stars and one of Broadway's most acclaimed performers, straddles the movie and stage divide with ease.
"Playing Peter Allen is the best therapy you can do," he said. "Peter, for me, was someone - and this may sound corny - who lived life to the full but he had the capacity to make his audience feel special and knew not to hold back. He learnt that from Judy Garland."
Jackman and the show's producers, Ben Gannon and Robert Fox, vow that the latest incarnation of The Boy from Oz, to be staged in the Sydney Entertainment Centre, will be splashy and huge, with a chorus of Rockettes to make the Radio City scene burst at its high-kicking seams.
The American director and choreographer Kenny Ortega, known for creating stage marvels for Barbra Streisand, Madonna and Cher, will be the "ringmaster" for a show that may tour outside Australia if it has legs.
"It will be visually spectacular with lots of naughtiness," Jackman said. "By the way, the song Tenterfield Saddler is back [in the show], otherwise we would be lynched."
Gannon said American audiences didn't understand the song so they replaced it with the ballad Once Before I Go.
Aside from being an outlandish performer who knew how to get an audience on side, Allen was a gifted songwriter. He died in San Diego in 1992. Six years later The Boy from Oz, directed by Gale Edwards and starring Todd McKenney, premiered at Her Majesty's when audiences unequivocally embraced it.
"As an actor, playing Peter is a great responsibility," Jackman said. "He's an icon here and a beloved son of this country. I give my impression, I convey an essence of Peter Allen. To get to do it in Australia is a privilege and I think people want to share his unique spirit and outlook on life."
The Boy from Oz opens at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on August 3.