Moulin Rouge! is finally a stage production beginning in Boston, though performances may be delayed due to a construction related incident at the Emerson Colonial Theatre.
Stage Adaptation of 2001 Musical Film To Begin in Boston
When the film Moulin Rouge! was released in 2001, directed by Baz Luhrmann, it received enormous acclaim. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, winning two for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design, and it grossed $180 million at the box office. With its highly theatrical spectacle and incredibly catchy array of well-known songs artfully re-envisioned, Moulin Rouge! was under immediate consideration to become a stage musical. In the early years after the film’s release, it was reported that Baz Luhrmann had approached the leads of the film – Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor – to star in a potential stage version. There was also talk of a show version in Las Vegas, which did not materialize. Finally, 15 years after the film’s release, it was announced that a stage adaptation was in the works, directed by Alex Timbers. Timbers arrived on the Broadway scene with a precocious start as the young writer and director of the musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson in 2010, and has since gone on to direct the Broadway shows The Pee-Wee Herman Show, Peter and the Starcatcher (as co-director), Rocky, and Oh, Hello on Broadway. Nevertheless, a Broadway start date has not been announced, and while all signs point to an eventual Broadway production of this well-known show, the current plans are to begin an out-of-town tryout at the newly renovated Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts.
Construction Related Incident May Delay Boston Performances
The plan was for previews to begin in Boston on June 27, 2018. However, last weekend, on the night of Friday, June 8, 2018, a construction-related issue occurred in a support of the steel grid above the stage. While technical rehearsals were already underway, fortunately the issue occurred overnight when no one was in the theatre, and no sets for Moulin Rouge! were damaged. As last reported, it is still being assessed whether a delay will be necessitated by this technical issue, or whether performances may be able to proceed as planned. Prior to this incident, it had been announced that the Boston run of Moulin Rouge! had been extended for an additional two weeks beyond the originally scheduled performances. As currently scheduled, the opening night will be July 22, 2018, and the show will run until August 19, 2018, whereas the original closing date had been slated for August 5, 2018. Originally built in 1900, the Emerson Colonial Theatre closed in 2015, and Emerson College was discussing plans to turn it into a dining hall. However, the London-based Ambassador Theatre Group rescued the venue for its intended purpose, in a slew of acquisitions of American theatres, including several in New York City. Once ATG acquired the theatre, the theatre group undertook renovations of the venue, collaborating with Elkus Manfredi Architects and Consigli Contracting Co., to pay homage to the building’s original 1900 design while introducing modern back-of-house technology and efficiencies.
Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo to Star in Boston Production
With many years having passed since Moulin Rouge! first hit the screen, it was no longer a possibility for Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman to star in a stage production. As such, the creative team has found its leads among the ranks of Broadway performers. The role of Christian, the struggling poet in Montmartre, will be played by Aaron Tveit, whose Broadway credits include playing Link Larkin in Hairspray, Fiyero in Wicked, Gabe in Next to Normal, and Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can. As for the role of the courtesan Satine, she will be played by Tony winner Karen Olivo, whose Broadway credits include playing Vanessa in In the Heights, Mimi in Rent, Faith in Brooklyn, and Anita in West Side Story. The additional cast in the Boston production includes six-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein (Fiddler on the Roof) as Harold Zidler, Tony and Olivier nominee Sahr Ngaujah (Fela!) as Toulouse-Lautrec, Tam Mutu (Doctor Zhivago) as the Duke of Monroth, Ricky Rojas (Burn the Floor) as Santiago, and Robyn Hurder (Nice Work If You Can Get It) as Nini.