‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ to Open in Boston With Broadway Hopes


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Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in the 2001 film version of “Moulin Rouge.” The stage musical will feature pop songs used in the film plus some that have been released more recently.

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20th Century Fox via Associated Press

A stage musical adaptation of “Moulin Rouge,” Baz Luhrmann’s lush dreamscape film that infused a 19th-century love story with contemporary pop music, will get a first production in Boston next summer.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical” will be the first show at the renovated Emerson Colonial Theater, which, after facing possible conversion into a college dining hall, is instead being refurbished by a large British company, the Ambassador Theater Group, that also operates two Broadway theaters (the Lyric and the Hudson).

The production, which will begin performances in Boston in late June, is aiming for Broadway, but did not announce a schedule or a theater commitment.

The Colonial, which opened in 1900 with “Ben-Hur,” is now owned by Emerson College and operated by ATG, and has a long history of pre-Broadway productions, including “Anything Goes,” “Porgy and Bess,” “Oklahoma!,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Follies” and “La Cage aux Folles.”

“Moulin Rouge,” set in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris in 1899, is about a writer, Christian, who falls in love with a dancer, Satine, at the Moulin Rouge cabaret hall. The film, released in 2001, starred Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman.

The “Moulin Rouge” stage musical is being directed by Alex Timbers, a two-time Tony nominee (for the book of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and for direction of “Peter and the Starcatcher”). The show has just begun a developmental lab in New York, with Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo in the starring roles; the cast for the Boston production has not been announced.

John Logan, who won a Tony for writing the play “Red,” is writing the musical’s book. The score, an anachronistic mix of songs from the last 50 years, will include music featured in the film along with songs released more recently.

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