Boston, get your best Parisian suits ready and your most musical hats out! It has been announced that a musical adaptation of Moulin Rouge! The Musical will try out first in Boston next summer.
This continues the return of the prime glory years when the city was a cultural hotspot for new shows to test its mettle before moving on to Broadway. It is also worth noting that the show will be housed at the historic Colonial Theatre, where it has been undergoing renovations by the British theatre company, Ambassador Theatre Group. The company operates 2 Broadway houses, the Hudson and the Lyric, in addition to its West End theatres in London.
The nearby American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, has been forwarding shows to the Broadway pipeline nonchalantly for several years now. Under the leadership of Diane Paulus, recent productions include Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, Waitress, All the Way, Pippin, The Glass Menagerie and Porgy and Bess.
The Colonial was closed in October 2015 by its current landlord, Emerson College, when the previous lease by the financial corporation Citi expired. The theatre, now under the enterprise of ATG for a 40-year term, is set for a grand re-opening with Moulin Rouge in June 2018.
The new musical will be helmed by the in-demand Broadway wunderkind Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Here Lies Love), who is also developing another screen-to-stage property, a little gem called Beetlejuice. The remainder of the creative team is an elite roster of theatrical vets: John Logan, book (Red, Spectre, Skyfall); Sonya Tayeh, choreography, (So You Think You Can Dance); Catherine Zuber, costumes (The King and I, War Paint). The score will be a musical hodgepodge of selections from the last 50 years culled from the film, along with a re-imagined pop-culture addition of songs released in the 15 years since the film’s 2001 release.
Baz Luhrmann’s original Moulin Rouge film grossed a total of $179 million. The extravagant romantic fable that centered on a forlorn young poet and a glamorous cabaret seductress set at the cusp of the twentieth century in the bohemian Montmartre district.
Aaron Tveit (Catch Me If You Can, Next to Normal) and Karen Olivo (West Side Story, In the Heights) will headline a developmental presentation this month in New York. No specifics yet if the stars will move on to the Boston premiere, nor any details on a Broadway schedule or theatre.