In a charity auction onstage at Broadway's "The Music Man" on Saturday, Oscar winner Nicole Kidman made the winning $100,000 bid for a hat worn by star Hugh Jackman in the musical at the Winter Garden Theatre.
"Just tonight, we're going to have a little auction" to benefit the nonprofit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, said Tony Award winner Jackman, 54, in an Instagram video posted by singer-actor Katie Moyes Williams. "I'm going to auction off this straw boater that I wore during the show. Sutton [Foster, his co-star] and I are going to sign that … Let's dig deep. Because literally, every cent really, really goes to help people who are really in need at this time of year."
He then introduced auctioneer Nicholas Ward, who plays Oliver Hix in this revival of Meredith Willson's 1957 classic about a flimflam man in River City, Iowa, 1912. Beginning the auction at $1,000, Ward quickly saw the amount rise. Kidman, seated in the audience, engaged in a bidding war, offering $12,000, then $14,000, then $16,000. Fielding a flurry of bids, Ward asked for $19,000 — and Kidman, standing, shouted, "$100,000!"
Variously in this video and in others by audience members Erin Alden Dalton, Dominique Moreno and Deliah Schmitz, we see Jackman's mouth drop open in astonishment as the audience erupted in cheers and a high-pitched squeal. Kidman, 55, who was born in Hawaii but like Jackman was raised in Australia, strolled down the aisle to the star, who crouched at stage right and gave her a hug. She blew kisses to Ward and returned to her seat amid a standing ovation.
"Nic! Nic!" yelled Jackman, joking that, "I just want to be clear, this is not Australian dollars!"
After more repartee between them, Kidman returned to tell Jackman, “I love you, I love Broadway and I love what they do, Broadway Cares. But I want to also say this show is extraordinary, and thank you." Jackman handed her the hat, which she put on momentarily and then wore again further up the aisle as she returned to her seat.
“I’ve known Nic for almost 30 years," Jackman told the audience. "I’ve worked with her" on-screen in Baz Luhrmann's "Australia" (2008) and in vocal roles in the animated feature "Happy Feet" (2006). "I can tell you this is not a surprise to me. She is one of the most generous souls I know. You’re a beautiful, beautiful person. I love you. Thank you for your generosity."