'Moulin Rouge!' Musical Sets Pre-Broadway Boston Bow

Directed by Alex Timbers, the stage version of the 2001 Baz Luhrmann movie will reopen Boston's historic Emerson Colonial Theatre in summer 2018, prior to its New York debut.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is on its way to Broadway.

The previously announced project, based on Baz Luhrmann's 2001 film starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, will premiere in summer 2018 at Boston's newly restored Emerson Colonial Theatre, which is now part of Ambassador Theatre Group. The production is then expected to segue to Broadway, though exact dates remain to be set.

Luhrmann's film followed the love story of an English poet and a beautiful courtesan, the star cabaret performer at the decadent Montmartre nightclub in Belle Epoque Paris. John Logan, a Tony Award winner for Red, has written the book for the musical, with Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Here Lies Love) on board to direct. Choreography is by Sonya Tayeh, a veteran of Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.

Aaron Tveit (Grease Live!) and Karen Olivo, a Tony winner for West Side Story, are playing the lead roles in a developmental lab of the musical currently underway in New York. However, no official announcement concerning casting of the production is expected until the new year.

The show adheres to the conceit of the movie by weaving together a score of popular music from the last 50 years, including songs heard in the film as well as additional tracks from the 16 years since its release. Matt Stine will serve as music producer, orchestrator and arranger on the musical, with Justin Levine as music supervisor.

"It is a great honor to relight one of America's best-loved theaters, where unforgettable musicals like Oklahoma!, Carousel, La Cage aux Folles, Grand Hotel and Follies were first seen by theater audiences in Boston before going to Broadway," said producer Carmen Pavlovic of Australia-based Global Creatures.

Other celebrated musicals that had their pre-Broadway engagements at the Emerson Colonial include Porgy and Bess, Anything Goes and Annie Get Your Gun. The landmark venue opened in 1900 with Ben Hur; it is now owned by Emerson College and operated by British company ATG, which has been expanding an international footprint that also includes two Broadway houses, the Lyric and the Hudson.

Creator of the widely traveled arena spectacle Walking With Dinosaurs, Global Creatures also is collaborating with Luhrmann on a stage adaptation of his breakout hit Strictly Ballroom, which premiered in Sydney in 2014 and will open on London's West End next April; and is teaming with Sydney Theatre Company on another screen-to-stage makeover, Muriel's Wedding: The Musical, debuting in Sydney this month. Global Creatures also is behind the King Kong musical, announced for Broadway next fall.

The design team on Moulin Rouge! The Musical includes Derek McLane (sets), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Justin Townsend (lighting) and Peter Hylenski (sound). Former DreamWorks animation chief Bill Damaschke is executive producer.

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