Australian actress Natalie Mendoza has been set to replace Karen Olivo in the Broadway stage production of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” the show’s producers announced Monday.
Olivo, the former star of the Tony-nominated production, dropped out of “Moulin Rouge!” in the wake of the accusations of harassment against film and theater producer Scott Rudin. Olivo called the “silence about Scott Rudin” “unacceptable” and said she would not return to the stage production once performances resumed.
Rudin was not involved with “Moulin Rouge!” and did not work with Olivo, but he was active in returning Broadway to the stage amid the pandemic. Earlier this year, he stepped away from all of his Broadway productions.
Mendoza is best known for the BBC One drama series “Hotel Babylon” and most recently starred in the Cannes drama “Annette.” She also appeared as one of the can-can dancers in Baz Luhrmann’s film “Moulin Rouge!” She’s now reuniting with the stage musical’s director, Alex Timbers, who previously directed her in the role of Imelda Marcos in “Here Lies Love” at London’s Royal National Theater.
She will take on the lead role of Satine in the play, and performances are set to resume on Sept. 24. “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” will resume productions at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in New York. The full cast is now set for the show’s return.
“We’re excited to welcome Natalie to our company. 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,” Timbers said.
“From the moment Natalie was cast as China Doll in ‘Moulin Rouge!’ the film, we knew we had discovered a major young talent. 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,” Luhrmann said.
“Having been involved with the film from its early conception, the role of Satine has always been close to my heart. This rare jewel of an opportunity to play a character like her on Broadway feels like a full circle moment. With this stunning group of bohemian artists and this uniquely conscious creative team I couldn’t be in better care,” Mendoza said.
In addition to Mendoza, the full cast of the musical includes Tony Award nominee Aaron Tveit, Danny Burstein, Sahr Ngaujah, Tam Mutu, Ricky Rojas and Robyn Hurder. Ashley Loren is the Satine alternate.
Mendoza is represented by Podwall Entertainment, Buchwald and Jonathan Arun Group.