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'Amelie' musical coming to L.A., then Broadway, with a 'Hamilton' star

'Amelie' musical coming to L.A., then Broadway, with a 'Hamilton' star
Samantha Barks, right, played the title role in "Amelie, a New Musical" at Berkeley Rep in 2015. (kevinberne.com)

Audrey Tautou charmed movie audiences in the title role of "Amélie," the 2001 Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie about a Parisian waitress who embarks on a series of whimsical adventures. For the musical adaptation of the hit movie, producers have found their leading lady from the cast of "Hamilton."

Phillipa Soo will play Amélie in the English-language stage musical that is set to kick off at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in December, before a planned Broadway engagement. The actress currently plays Eliza Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton, in the smash musical "Hamilton" running at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York.

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"We are thrilled to be producing 'Amélie, a New Musical' in Los Angeles before it heads off to Broadway, and excited that our Ahmanson Theatre audience will be the first to see Phillipa Soo in the lead of this mesmerizing show," read a statement from Center Theatre Group producing director Douglas C. Baker.

When the musical debuted at Berkeley Repertory Theatre last year, British actress Samantha Barks played the lead role.

Soo was involved in the developmental process of the musical, according to Aaron Harnick, a producer of the show.

The musical is scheduled to run at the Ahmanson from Dec. 4 to Jan. 15. Producers said the show will open on Broadway in 2017 but haven't announced dates or additional casting.

Pam MacKinnon, who directed "Amélie" at Berkeley Rep, will return to direct it at the Ahmanson and on Broadway.

Soo, who is a Juilliard School alumna, was nominated for a Tony Award this year for her role in "Hamilton." She is one of a few "Hamilton" stars who will be leaving the show in the days ahead as their contracts end.

She will depart "Hamilton" July 9, the same date as leading man Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr.

In 2013, Jeunet told a French media outlet that he was "disgusted" by the idea of "Amlie" being turned into a stage musical.

"I absolutely loathe musicals and I hate Broadway," the filmmaker told RTL, the French radio network. He said he ultimately allowed the adaptation to happen so that he could help fund a medical charity for children.

"I can tell you that I won't see [the musical], I don't want to hear anything about it," Jeunet said. But with the money that it brings in, he added, "perhaps I could save some lives."

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