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

Melbourne theatre and musicals this month

From major musicals to main stage hits, here's what theatre shows to see in Melbourne this month

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Written by
Nicola Dowse
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Theatre has been one of the worst-hit industries since the first lockdowns began in 2020. But each time Melbourne's performing artists get knocked down (or rather, locked down) they get back up again. This August treat yourself to one of Melbourne's best theatre shows or musicals – August marks the highly anticipated launch of Moulin Rouge! The Musical as well as the return of some of our favourite performances such as Iphigenia In Splott.

RECOMMENDED: The best art exhibitions in Melbourne this month.

Musicals

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

Do you believe in freedom, beauty, truth and love? Yes? Good. A spectacular stage version of Moulin Rouge! wings its way to the Regent Theatre this winter for its Australian premiere. 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.

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

Update 02/08/21: Melbourne performances of Frozen the Musical have been cancelled until Aug 8 following Victoria's fifth lockdown. Ticket holders will be contacted. 

The animated version of Frozen is focused on Elsa, but the stage version is much more centred on Anna, a kindhearted goofball played with true joy and charm by Courtney Monsma. Her singing is more than up to the task of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez’s music, with a voice that’s Broadway-ready without going the full Ethel Merman. As Elsa, Jemma Rix manages to convey both the ice queen’s angst and her, pardon the pun, frigidity. 

Mainstage

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre

There’s been a lot of hype about Because the Night, Malthouse Theatre’s new production where the audience can freely explore an immersive set while the cast performs around them. “Immersive” really is the word here, and for once the oft overused term doesn’t feel like a gimmick – nor does the intensely detailed open set undermine the integrity of the production. Because the Night is undeniably a work of theatre, but one that approaches the art with a bolt of inspiration that will attract new audiences to the discipline. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Melbourne

While we may have been sworn to secrecy about Cursed Child’s plot, we can reveal that the hype – and rarely has a piece of theatre ever generated such fever-pitched buzz – is entirely deserved. After smashing box office records on Broadway and the West End, Cursed Child has (after a brief pause due to 2020) reopened to Melbourne audiences.

Opera

  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Melbourne

Audiences around the country can discover a traditional Wadawurrung story imagined as an all-ages opera in Parrwang Lifts the Sky. Though intended to show at the Arts Centre Melbourne (a plan that was dashed due to Victoria's fourth lockdown), you can now watch the opera online until late December. Written and composed by acclaimed soprano Deborah Cheetham (Yorta Yorta), Parrwang Lifts the Sky is based on a traditional Wadawurrung tale about a magpie named Parrwang.

Before you book...

  • Theatre

Not all seats are created equal. Sure, there are some shows so spectacular and unmissable you’d happily sit anywhere, but most experiences in the theatre can be augmented by the best seats in the house. And occasionally ruined by the worst. So, without further ado, we give them to you.

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