Stage and screen veteran Natalie Mendoza, who played China Doll in the 2001 Baz Luhrmann hit Moulin Rouge!, will take on the lead role of Satine when the stage adaptation of the movie reopens on Broadway. Performances are set to resume September 24 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
In addition to her connection with the title, the casting also marks a reunion between actor and director: Mendoza starred in the London bow of Here Lies Love, also helmed by Tony-nominated Moulin Rouge! director Alex Timbers. The Australian performer’s credits also include Miss Saigon in the West End, The Descent horror franchise, and the BCC’s Hotel Babylon. She appeared as Arachne in early performances of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, though departed during its infamously long preview period due to injury.
The news follows Tony winner Karen Olivo’s departure from the production. Olivo, who is currently Tony-nominated for her work as Satine, announced in April they would not lead the show upon its reopening, citing a commitment to activism and humanitarian efforts in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and abuse allegations against producer Scott Rudin.
Mendoza rounds out a principal cast that also includes the previously reported returning players: Tony nominees Aaron Tveit as Christian, Danny Burstein as Harold Zidler, Sahr Ngaujah as Tolouse-Lautrec, and Robyn Hurder as Nini, as well as Ricky Rojas as Santiago and Tam Mutu as the Duke of Monroth. Ashley Loren will continue as the Satine Alternate.
Completing the company are a mix of new and original cast members: Jacqueline B. Arnold, Holly James, Jeigh Madjus, Joe Beauregard, Keely Beirne, Giovanni Bonaventura, Olutayo Bosede, Maya Bowles, Kyle Brown, Sam J. Cahn, Bobby Daye, Mia DeWeese, Karli Dinardo, Tilly Evans-Krueger, Aaron C. Finley, Bahiyah Hibah, Ericka Hunter, Cameron Mitchell Jackson, Tasia Jungbauer, Jose-Luis Lopez Jr., Reed Luplau, Kara Menendez, Kaitlin Mesh, Fred Odgaard, Dylan Paul, Khori Michelle Petinaud, Benjamin Rivera, Julius Anthony Rubio, and Brandon Stonestreet.
Based on the 2001 Baz Luhrmann movie, the Broadway production opened July 25, 2019. It scored 14 2020 Tony nominations, including Best Musical, Best Director for Alex Timbers, Best Book of a Musical for John Logan, Best Choreography for Sonya Tayeh, and Best Orchestrations for Justin Levine, who incorporated the pop hits featured in the original movie as well as chart-toppers released in the years since the film's debut into the score.