Natalie Mendoza, a star of the BBC One drama series Hotel Babylon and The Descent horror film franchise, has been cast in the lead role of Broadway’s Moulin Rouge! The Musical, filling the vacancy left when the Tony-nominated Karen Olivo resigned in April over what she perceived as industry silence regarding the workplace harassment and abuse claims levied against theater producer Scott Rudin.
(Rudin had no involvement in Moulin Rouge!)
With the casting of Mendoza, announced today by producers Carmen Pavlovic and Bill Damaschke, the full Moulin Rouge! cast is in place for the resumption of performances on Friday, September 24, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. The musical originally opened on July 25, 2019, but performances were suspended in March 2020 when Broadway went dark due to the Covid pandemic shutdown.
Mendoza joins a principal cast that also includes Aaron Tveit, Danny Burstein, Sahr Ngaujah, Tam Mutu, Ricky Rojas and Robyn Hurder.
The casting is a bit of a homecoming for Mendoza, who portrayed a can-can dancer named China Doll in Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film Moulin Rouge! (On the film side, she’ll next be seen in the buzzy Cannes film Annette, directed by Leos Carax and starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.)
“From the moment Natalie was cast as China Doll in Moulin Rouge! the film, we knew we had discovered a major young talent,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “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.”
Said Mendoza, “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, raised in Australia, previously worked with the Broadway musical’s director Alex Timbers when she appeared as Imelda Marcos in Here Lies Love at London’s Royal National Theatre.
“We’re excited to welcome Natalie to our company. “She’s an extraordinary artist,” Timbers said, “and I’m so thrilled to be working with her again as we prepare to bring Moulin Rouge! The Musical back to Broadway.”
Mendoza’s other credits include Michael Winterbottom’s futuristic thriller Code 46, Miramax’s The Great Raid and, on television, ABC’s production of South Pacific, ITV’s McDonald & Dodds, CBS’ Blue Bloods and in upcoming episodes of Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan.
On stage, additional credits include Miss Saigon, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark and Ghost.
Mendoza is repped by Podwall Entertainment, Buchwald, and Jonathan Arun Group.
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