Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 Oscar-nominated film Moulin Rouge is being adapted as a stage musical with a book by Tony Award winner John Logan and direction by Tony nominee Alex Timbers. It will be titled Moulin Rouge! The Musical.
Logan won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Drama League awards for his 2010 play Red. His other Broadway credits include the libretto for Sting’s 2014 musical The Last Ship, and the script for Bette Midler’s 2013 solo show, I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers.
Timbers has had a similarly eclectic career. His stage credits include Rocky, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Peter and the Starcatcher (Tony nomination) on Broadway (the latter as both director and librettist), and Here Lies Love and The Robber Bridegroom Off-Broadway. He is directing the upcoming comedy, Oh Hello on Broadway. Timbers is also co-creator and co-executive producer of the TV show Mozart in the Jungle, starring Bernadette Peters, which won the 2016 Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy Series.
Despite the project’s simultaneous announcement in New York and Luhrmann’s native Australia, a production spokesperson said the show’s opening city, opening venue and production timeline will be announced at a later date. No casting was announced. There was also no word on whether the show would have an original score, or if it would use pre-existing pop songs, as the movie does.
The highly theatrical film is set at the decadent Parisian nightclub, the Moulin Rouge (Red Mill), and tells the story of a poet who becomes obsessed with a beautiful singer and courtesan there (played in the film by Nicole Kidman). The movie is filled with musical numbers set at the club, and some outside it, much in the style of Cabaret.
The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, and won two: Best Costumes and Best Art Direction—Sets.
Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures, who is also bringing King Kong to Broadway, is developing the musical.
“I first encountered Alex Timbers through the remarkable and inventive production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and the brilliance of Here Lies Love,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “I immediately recognized the young director’s creative spirit and felt we shared similar sensibilities and instincts. So I’m tremendously happy to celebrate that Moulin Rouge! will be under his direction and that the book will be the creation of the gifted Tony Award-winning playwright John Logan whose writing I also admire deeply. It’s immensely gratifying to know that a new wave of artists will be leading Moulin Rouge! into its rightful theatrical realm.”