Tom Faludy’s first investment in a Broadway production ended up being remarkable.
Faludy and his wife, Pam, invested in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which was nominated for 14 Tony Awards, winning 10, including best musical. The Geist couple were co-producers.
“That is a pretty phenomenal achievement,” Faludy said. “To be associated with something that is that compelling of an entertainment spectacle, with so many talented people involved, is truly a blessing and privilege. You have to pinch yourself.”
“Moulin Rouge” opened July 25, 2019, at Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway. It was running when Broadway shut down in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reopened Sept. 24, 2021, after an 18-month shutdown.
“We kept all the key people together except for one in a prominent role,” Faludy said. “We were there the second night of the reopening, and it was magical.”
The Tony Awards were held the next night on Sept. 26. The Faludys were with the cast the night of the Tony Awards at a private party at Tavern On The Green.
“I came to America as a refugee from Hungary when I was 10 years old, so I’ve been blessed by the opportunities in America,” said Faludy, who was a child actor in Hungary. “I’ve been able to live out the promise, the hope and the dream of America. I feel blessed, humbled and privileged because there is no way I could ever connect the dots between the beginning of my life in Hungary to where I am today.”
Faludy, 75, eventually got connected with Broadway because of his longtime friendship with Gerry Ryan. Faludy has been chairman of a board for Ryan’s companies in Australia for the past 10 years. They met 30-plus years ago when Faludy ran a company in Colorado. Ryan was building recreation vehicles in Australia and New Zealand. Faludy’s company made parts for RVs.
“In that time, he not only became a great customer, but more importantly became a closest friend in the world,” Faludy said. “He also became one of Australia’s most successful business people and philanthropists.”
Faludy said Ryan has an interest in sports teams, including a cycling and rugby team, and thoroughbred racing.
“He has three Melbourne Cups, which is one of the richest horse races in the world,” said Faludy, who is vice president of global growth and strategic development for Lippert Components. “He has an animatronics company, which builds dinosaurs and various life-sized objects.”
Faludy said Ryan formed a theatrical company to take the dinosaurs for an arena show. The show was called “Walking with Dinosaurs,” produced by the production company Global Creatures.
“That was a British TV show, and we got the theatrical rights to that,” Faludy said. “We did these arena shows all over the world and (they were) very successful. It started 15 years ago.”
Approximately eight years ago, Global Creatures bought the theatrical to for “King Kong.”
Creature Technology build a 30-foot animated King Kong. Global Creatures produced a musical “King Kong.”
“That was the first Broadway production I was exposed to,” Faludy said.
Faludy said the production company took “King Kong” off Broadway after a year because it wasn’t a commercial success.
Ryan then got to know Baz Luhrmann, who directed, co-produced and co-wrote the movie “Moulin Rouge” starring Nicole Kidman in 2021. Luhrmann made a deal for Global Creatures to produce theatrical versions of Luhrmann’s films.
“‘Moulin Rouge’ was a successful movie, and so we knew it would be a well-received theatrical production because it already had such a strong cult following,” Faludy said. “Global Creatures has a brilliant CEO (Carmen Pavlovic), and she put together a phenomenal team, everything from story-writing, musical direction to choreography and costumes.”
The show’s first pre-Broadway run was in Boston and was very successful, Faludy said. When it went to Broadway, Faludy and his wife had the opportunity to invest and became co-producers.
“They worked for years on getting rights to the music. It was a very complex production to get on the stage, because of the fact ‘Moulin Rouge’ has so many songs incorporated into the play,” Faludy said.