Moulin Rouge! The Musical – the first Australian-produced musical to originate on Broadway – has been nominated for 14 Tony Awards, making it the second most nominated show after the musical Jagged Little Pill, inspired by the songs of Alanis Morisette, which received 15 nominations. The two shows are up against Tina – The Tina Turner Musical in the race for Best Musical.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Photograph © Matthew Murphy

The delayed 74th Tony Award nominations were announced a week after the news that Broadway will remain dark until at least June 2021. The Broadway season was truncated due to venues shuttering on 12 March because of the coronavirus pandemic, so the cut-off for nominations was moved to 19 February instead of the end of April. This meant that musicals including Ivo Van Hove’s revival of West Side Story, the Bob Dylan musical Girl From the North Country, and SIX, which had to close during previews, could not be considered as not enough Tony voters had seen them.

In a depleted field, there were 18 eligible shows, compared to 34 last year. What’s more, Aaron Tveit was the only nomination in the Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Christian in Moulin Rouge!. Shortly after the production was forced to close, Tveit and three of his castmates were diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Moulin Rouge! received 14 nominations across 13 musical theatre categories:

Best Direction of a Musical – Alex Timbers
Best Book of a Musical – John Logan
Best Choreography (Sonya Tayeh), Best Orchestrations – Justin Levine with Matt Stine, Katie Kresek and Charlie Rosen
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical – Karen Olivo
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical – Aaron Tveit
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical – Robyn Hurder
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical – Danny Burstein and Sahr Ngaujah
Best Scenic Design in a Musical – Derek McLane
Best Costume Design in a Musical – Catherine Zuber
Best Lighting Design in a Musical – Justin Townsend
Best Sound Design of a Musical – Peter Hylenski

“This year’s Tony Award nominees share the most unusual of bonds. At such a difficult time for so many people, including the thousands who make up the industry behind the scenes, we welcome this opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements of Broadway’s finest artists,” said Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures and Producer of Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

“Today’s Tony nominations are a reminder of the truly remarkable production our creative team, cast and crew have brought to life. It took over a decade to bring Moulin Rouge! The Musical to the Broadway stage, and the success of the show is anchored in every win, loss and learning we have experienced producing new Australian theatrical works. We are incredibly proud to be an Australian company and cannot wait to bring Moulin Rouge! home to Melbourne in 2021.”

Karen Olivo as Satine and Aaron Tveit as Christian. Photograph © Matthew Murphy

The musical is based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film, which used an intoxicating mix of contemporary songs to underpin the story of excess, glitz and romance set in the famous nightclub where Bohemians and aristocrats rub shoulders.

The “spectacular spectacular” stage show magnifies Luhrmann’s musical approach. Drawing on over 160 years of music from Offenbach to Lady Gaga, it references 70 songs in fierce remixes and ingenious, giddy mash-ups.

After an out-of-town Boston run in 2018, the show debuted on Broadway in 2019, breaking box office records for the Al Hirschfeld Theatre and scoring a Grammy nomination for the Original Cast Recording.

Reviewing the Broadway opening, Limelight Editor at Large Clive Paget said “with an expanded, every-one-a-winner soundtrack, a first-rate, hard-working cast and a staging that looks a million dollars and counting, it takes feelgood to a whole new level.”

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is the fourth musical production by Global Creatures, which was founded in 2007 by Gerry Ryan and Carmen Pavlovic, following King Kong, Strictly Ballroom The Musical and Muriel’s Wedding The Musical.

An Australian production is scheduled to open at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne in 2021.

Tony Award nominations for Best Play went to Grand Horizons by Bess Wohl, The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez, Sea Wall/A Life by Simon Stephens and Nick Payne, Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris, and The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp.

The awards will be presented at a digital ceremony. The date has not yet been announced but is reportedly planned for the first half of December.

Full list of Tony Award nominations

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