Hastings dance teacher performs with The Greatest Showman star Hugh Jackman

A Hastings dance teacher and choreographer performed with The Greatest Showman star Hugh Jackman on stage in a unique reunion at the O2 arena in London.

In 1998, at the age of 17, Tom Dwyer was in the West End revival of Oklahoma! that gave Hugh Jackman his big break internationally. The actor, now a superstar following starring roles in the X-Men film series, Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman, played Curly McLain in Oklahoma!.

He decided to reunite his Oklahoma! cast mates to perform during the London leg of his ‘Hugh Jackman: The Man. The Music. The Show’ tour. Hugh and the cast performed the title song Oklahoma during the O2 performance on June 5.

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Tom, who played Jess 20 years ago before going on to appear in a string of West End musicals, also met up at the reunion with Maureen Lipman, who played Aunt Eller in Oklahoma!.


Tom, who has lived in Hastings for 13 years and founded Tomboogie, which provides exercise classes based on the musicals, said: “It was a magical night full of happy memories, friendship and music. It was typically generous of Hugh to bring us all together and it was great to see so many friends again.


“Oklahoma! was my big break too – I got the role at 17 and celebrated my 18th birthday during the run. It opened so many doors for my future career.”

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Tom’s next big show, as part of the Hastings Literary Festival, is a collaboration with another Hastings resident – internationally best-selling children’s writer Kate O’Hearn, author of the Pegasus Series, the Valkyrie series and a number of other fantasy books.

The Caterpillar and the Blackbird is an enthralling narrated story and dance performance for children aged four upwards. From an original story by Kate, the show – at St Mary’s in the Castle at 2pm on Friday, August 30 – is choreographed and directed by Tom, assisted by Katy-jo Howman.

Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance and children need to be accompanied. Every child attending will receive a free colouring book of the story. Book through the Hastings Litfest site at https://hastingslitfest.org or at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings.