Broadway's Moulin Rouge! Recasts Satine After Original Star's Exit Over Scott Rudin Controversy

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Natalie Mendoza
Natalie Mendoza

Nick Harvey/Shutterstock Natalie Mendoza

Natalie Mendoza is the new Satine in Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

The actress — who played China Doll in the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name — is set to take on the female lead in the New York City-based stage production, after former star Karen Olivo announced their exit in April amid abuse allegations against film and theater producer Scott Rudin.

In a statement obtained by multiple outlets including Deadline, Mendoza, 42, said, "Having been involved with the film from its early conception, the role of Satine has always been close to my heart."

Played by Nicole Kidman in the 2001 movie, Satine is a dancer who stars opposite bohemian Christian (Aaron Tveit in the musical; Ewan McGregor in the film) as the two weave a whimsical, albeit tragic, love story throughout Paris at the turn of the 20th century.

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RELATED: Hollywood and Broadway Producer Scott Rudin Accused of "Horrific" Abusive Behavior by Former Employees

"This rare jewel of an opportunity to play a character like [Satine] on Broadway feels like a full-circle moment," Mendoza added. "With this stunning group of bohemian artists and this uniquely conscious creative team, I couldn't be in better care."

Luhrmann, 58, gave major kudos to Mendoza, saying in a statement shared by Deadline, "From the moment Natalie was cast as China Doll in Moulin Rouge! the film, we knew we had discovered a major young talent."

The filmmaker continued, "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."

Mendoza has appeared in several films and television projects, as well as on stage in productions like Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Miss Saigon.

Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo in Moulin Rogue.
Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo in Moulin Rogue.

Matthew Murphy 2019 Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit in Moulin Rouge!

RELATED: Karen Olivo Won't Return to Moulin Rouge! Due to "Unacceptable" Silence amid Scott Rudin Allegations

Olivo — who is nominated at the Tony Awards this year for their role as Satine — announced in April via Instagram Live they will not be returning to the musical once it reopens on Broadway in protest of Rudin's recent abuse allegations from former employees. (Rudin, 63, is not a producer of Moulin Rouge! The Musical.)

"I'm coming on here because I want to let everyone know before it goes into the spin cycle why this is an important time and how we can actually use our power in situations," said Olivo, 44. "Social justice is more important than being the Sparkling Diamond. ... Building a better industry is more important than putting money in my pockets."

An April story by The Hollywood Reporter detailed allegations against the EGOT winner from several former employees who said he'd have violent outbursts while they were working for him and his production company, Scott Rudin Productions.

Rudin declined to comment to the media outlet, and his rep did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. No charges are known to have been filed against him at this time.