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Finding spots for the pop songs, credited to 161 writers, and getting the rights, was no cancan.

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It’s truly a spectacular, spectacular! Moulin Rouge! musical just began Broadway preview performances and it’s already bringing in the big bucks. Stars Aaron Tveit, Karen Olivo, Danny Burstein, Tam Mutu and more took to the stage at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre ahead of its July 25 opening night.

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The Baz Luhrmann film comes to Broadway in Alex Timbers’ elaborate production, updated for the theatre with an expanded song score and more complex character backstories.

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In the past year, Alex Timbers has directed the Tony-nominated “Beetlejuice” and the stage adaptation of “Moulin Rouge!” (which begins previews June 28 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre). Here, he reflects on his most recent projects and the challenges of bringing two iconic movie musicals to Broadway within a year.

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Baz Luhrmann was born to reinvent the movie musical for a new generation—which is exactly what he did in 2001 with Moulin Rouge!, his deliriously romantic mash-up, set in 1890s Paris, of La Bohème, La Traviata, and the Orpheus myth, with a soundtrack that exploded with modern-day pop songs, lavish Technicolor sets and costumes (by his wife, Catherine Martin), and a hyperkinetic cinematic style that drew on MGM musicals, MTV videos, and Bollywood spectaculars.

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