Moulin Rouge Natalie Mendoza
Credit: Matthew Murphy

In a highly-anticipated return to live shows, Manhattan’s Broadway Theatre has reopened to tour the US. While Wicked will lead the lineup, Moulin Rouge! The Music will open in late 2021 with Australian actress Natalie Mendoza set to play leading lady ‘Satine’.

Based on Baz Luhrmann‘s 2001 film of the same name, Mendoza takes on the role with familiarity as she actually played “China Doll,” one of the club’s can-can dancers, in the original film. Talk about a full circle moment. It’s fitting of course to also point out that fellow Australian starlet Nicole Kidman was the first to portray the role where she earned an Oscar nomination.

“From the moment Natalie was cast as China Doll in MOULIN ROUGE! the film, we knew we had discovered a major young talent,” Baz Luhrmann said in a press announcement of Mendoza’s casting (via TimeOut). “That young talent has now blossomed into the lead in our Broadway production. I could not be more thrilled that Natalie will be lowered in that glorious swing as Broadway’s Sparkling Diamond.”

Moulin Rouge Nicole Kidman
Credit: FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images.

“We’re excited to welcome Natalie to our company,” said Alex Timbers, director of Moulin Rouge! The Music. “She’s an extraordinary artist and I’m so thrilled to be working with her again as we prepare to bring Moulin Rouge! The Musical back to Broadway.”

Mendoza has also appeared in theatre productions such as Miss Saigon, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and Ghost. As for the silver screen, she is known for her performance in British drama Hotel Babylon and Juno. The casting comes after the production’s original lead Karen Olivo made an unexpected departure.

Moulin Rouge! is set in 1899 and follows Christian, a young English writer, who arrives to Paris to follow the Bohemian revolution taking hold of the city’s underground culture. Things take a dark turn as the writer comes across the Moulin Rouge nightclub and starts a dangerous love affair with the star courtesan of the club, Satine.

Moulin Rouge!: The Musical will resume production from September 26. For context, watch the original film trailer below.

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