Melbourne is set to host another major Australian theatre premiere. Moulin Rouge! The Musical – a live staging of iconic Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar-winning 2001 film – will head to the Regent Theatre for its Australian premiere in 2021.
The musical made its New York debut on Broadway last week, nabbing heaps of positive reviews, including a glowing write-up from the New York Times.
As with the film – and other Luhrmann works such as Romeo + Juliet and the Great Gatsby – the musical’s soundtrack features popular music spanning the last few decades. This includes an onstage rendition of the film’s hit single Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera, Mýa, Pink and Lil' Kim. The repertoire has been bolstered with a staggering 70-odd songs, from OutKast’s So Fresh, So Clean to No Doubt’s Don’t Speak, plus tracks by Beyoncé, the White Stripes, Britney and Lady Gaga.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical is being produced by Melbourne company Global Creatures, which made its name with the hugely successful Walking With Dinosaurs stage show, as well as musicals including King Kong and Strictly Ballroom. The $28 million musical will be directed by Alex Timbers, whose Broadway directing credits include Beetlejuice, the Pee-wee Herman Show and Peter and the Starcatcher, for which he received a Best Director nomination at the 2012 Tony Awards.
The new screen-to-stage production will open in a newly renovated Regent Theatre. The $19.4 million renewal project includes a $14.5 million contribution from the Victorian government. It will be the 90-year-old theatre’s first upgrade since it reopened in 1996.
The new works – set to be completed in early 2020 – include improvements to the bar and foyer, the addition of more women’s toilets, and a clean and repair of the building’s facade. Inside the theatre, the balcony will be extended and new seating configurations will allow the theatre to be set for 1500, 1700 or 2300 audience members.