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Musical in Cologne: This is how the Musical Dome gets ready for the Moulin Rouge

What does it take to turn a makeshift theater tent into a plush Parisian nightclub? Thirteen weeks, 30 chandeliers, around 4000 square meters of fabric, many helping hands – oh yes: and 20 million euros. In the Musical Dome, the red carpet is literally rolled out for the next premiere. When viewers enter the hall to watch “Moulin Rouge” from October, project manager Nils Lunow hopes for a “real wow effect”.

Then not only does the floor shine in a warm red – color-coordinated panels of fabric are also attached to the walls, ceiling and even the underside of the balcony. And the door frames shine in rich gold.

View of the Musical Dome during the renovation work.

At the end of renovation week 9, Nils Lunow is extremely satisfied. “We were very lucky with the local crafts!” Getting the huge amount of fabric and carpet in the right “Moulin Rouge” tones was not easy, orders were placed from various companies around the world.

But the blue tent was also technically upgraded for the opulent show. Of course, the audience later does not see that, among other things, the installation of 43 rotary winches “maximum capacity in the Musical Dome” was exhausted – but they can then enjoy how the stage sets go up and down at lightning speed or the main actress Sophie Berner as in Baz Luhrmann’s film floats in from the ceiling.

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Project manager Nils Lunow wants a “wow effect”.

But there were also restrictions: In order to be able to perform the show like in New York or London, the stage section had to be reduced. So there was now space for the pedestals on which the two big eye-catchers will later stand: the elephant and the mill. The result: a total of 200 spectator seats are lost left and right.

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Bettina Döhmer has been stage manager here for 25 years.

For productions such as “We will rock you” or “Bodyguard”, 4 to 5 million euros were spent – ​​but the foyer will also be given a facelift from the current sum, which is four times as high – including the renovation of the toilets. Lettering and additional lighting are installed on the outside and the staircases are decorated. The Cologne street artist Onkel Dose created a graffiti for the lower portal. Although there was the idea of ​​painting the tent roof in “Moulin” red, this could not be implemented.

And how does the future look? Theater director Henning Pillekamp is firmly convinced that “Moulin Rouge” is so successful that the Staatshaus can also be opened as a new location with the musical. Producer Maik Klokow had told this newspaper that he was aiming for the year 2026. In other words, “Moulin Rouge” has to run for at least four years and be such a success that it can be transplanted to the other side of the Rhine. Then it’s up to Nils Lunow and his team to conjure up a plush nightclub from the former exhibition halls.

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