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Moulin Rouge 2019 supplied image Broadway
Photograph: Matthew MurphyThe Broadway production of Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge! the Musical is coming to Melbourne

Ben Neutze

Melbourne: Do you believe in freedom, beauty, truth and love? Yes? Good.

A spectacular stage version of Moulin Rouge! opened on Broadway this week and now we have official confirmation that it's on its way to Melbourne. Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the show will have its Australian premiere at the Regent Theatre in 2021, following a significant refurbishment of the theatre.

We had a pretty good feeling it'd show up in Australia pretty soon, because the movie was filmed in Australia, directed by an Australian (Baz Lurhmann) and designed by an Academy Award-winning Australian (Catherine Martin). It was produced on Broadway by an Australian production company (Global Creatures, who were behind King Kong, Strictly Ballroom and Muriel's Wedding the Musical).

The stage version is closely based on the film and features (almost) all of the songs you know and love, including 'Lady Marmalade', 'Come What May', 'Your Song' and a whole new version of the 'Elephant Love Medley'. There are also a whole bunch of songs in there that were released in the years following the film's 2001 release date (for example, Katy Perry's 'Firework' is in place of 'One Day I'll Fly Away').

The show has been getting rave reviews. Time Out New York said, in a four-star review: "Moulin Rouge! may turn out to be the jukebox musical to end all jukebox musicals – if only because, among its particular type of jukebox musical at least, it’s hard to imagine how it can be topped."

Alongside the choreography, direction and impressive song list, critics have been particularly dazzled by the set design, which has transformed Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre into a slice of Paris at the turn of the century. It's set to do the same at the Regent.

The announcement sets up Moulin Rouge! to go head-to-head with Broadway smash Hamilton, which earlier this year announced its 2021 Australian premiere in Sydney. We've got no further details at this point about precise dates or any casting, but this is a big coup for Melbourne.

Can't wait until 2021? Check out our list of the biggest musicals coming to Melbourne.

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