Feathers, glitz, and larger-than-life staging and performances are what to expect as you enter the world of the show Moulin Rouge! The Musical! Inspired by the 132-year-old cabaret of the same name in Paris and adapted from a 2001 revolutionary movie, the exhibition brings splendor to the stage with more bursts of extravaganza. To call it an eye candy is an understatement, as the show opens its curtains for a sexy and snappy 2-hour song and dance performance that is so much more than what meets the eye. Have you been looking for an exciting night out in the City of Angels? Come see the musical at the Pantages Theatre this summer. You can experience a rollercoaster of an emotionally charged show that you will want to immerse yourself into.
“This is the best of what a jukebox musical can be: a thrilling burst of color and chorus and nostalgia and bold reimagining.” – Erin Strecker, Mashable
“Prepare to tilt at the windmill that is the gorgeous, gaudy, spectacularly overstuffed … this adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie may be costume jewelry, but its shine is dazzling.” – Adam Feldman, TimeOut NY
“Smart, shameless, and extravagantly entertaining.” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times
Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a retelling of the movie “Moulin Rouge!” that captivated people since 2001, bringing the story to the stage. It is a brainchild of the creative endeavor of multiple Tony award-winning Broadway legends: director Alex Timbers, book writer John Logan, arranger Justin Levine, and choreographer Sonya Taye. Thus, the audience can expect that it is a masterpiece.
The show is notable for its mash-ups of 71 pop songs, which Justine Levine cleverly intertwined. “The great thing about this show is that it is a container for the last hundred years of popular music,” says Levine in a Playbill video. Here and there, it is easy to catch songs many of us heard –– from David Bowie, Rolling Stones, to Lorde, to name a few. The song choices add fun as sing-alongs can be done. The show, after all, brought “Broadway’s biggest karaoke night.”
Besides its awesome song mash-ups, the show engages viewers in breathtaking storytelling, a tale coming from the bohemian ideals of “Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love.” A musical set in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France, during the Belle Epoque at the turn of the 20th century, Moulin Rouge! The Musical chronicles the story of Christian, an ambitious musician, as he falls in love with Satine, a Moulin Rouge performer. The show starts with “Welcome to The Moulin Rouge,” a sprightful remix of songs, with Patti Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” combined with the iconic and modernized French Can-Can. Oddly, it is an undeniable banger and a terrific way to start a show. The mash-ups continue throughout the show; most are surprisingly unexpected, adding to the excitement and gleeful appreciation.
The story piques interest as Christian tells the story of a romance struck with tragedy and a woman named Satine. The show presents a speedy drift of flashbacks, beginning as Satine does everything she can to save a dying Moulin Rouge by seducing a Duke. The conflict began to shape as she caught the attention of Christian apart from the Duke. It heats up as the story progresses, with Satine struggling to look for leverage from the brewing conflict while having a physical affliction and Christian slowly losing tolerance for his suppressed feelings. They are burdened with a choice; to pick what is best for themselves or bend to the wishes of others.
Even before it premiered, Moulin Rouge! The Musical was an anticipated success. It premiered at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston in 2018; as expected, reviews came one after another with a primarily positive reception.
“Its pieces zoom through the air like candy-colored shrapnel, whizzing by before the memory can tag them and making the blandly familiar sound enticingly exotic. I’m talking about the recycled pop hits, mostly of a romantic stripe, that make up the seemingly infinite song list of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” at the Emerson Colonial Theater here.”
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“The story’s been strengthened in this splashy production, while expectations of cinema-inspired visual splendor are met and even exceeded. As for its song score, you can forget about your so-called jukebox shows and their dozen or so standards shoved into a narrative. With 70-odd pop smashes — from Piaf to Perry, from “Lady Marmalade” to Lady Gaga — baked into its dialogue and DNA, “Moulin Rouge!” has a battery that never runs down.”
– Bob Verini, Variety
Not even a year of the production, Moulin Rouge! The Musical’s inevitable move to Broadway was already announced. Its opening started on June 25 and continues as of this moment. During the pandemic delayed 2020 Tony Awards, the show gathered 13 nominations and won 10 awards, including “The Best Musical.” In January 2022, the musical continues its momentum as it reaches West End with the production in its sixth month. The show gathered five nominations for the 2022 Olivier Awards and won “Best Costume Design.”
An Excerpt from ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ Theater Review by David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter:
The plot and characters for much of the show seem secondary to the celebration of flashy pop spectacle and amusing anachronisms, making this a kind of 21st century Ziegfeld Follies — or Zidler Follies, if you will. But even if more could have been done to punch up the emotional involvement in a musical short on heart and poetry, the accomplished actors eventually steer the tragic love story where it needs to go in climactic scenes that are genuinely affecting if a tad abrupt in their outcome.
For many in the audience, the staggering volume of pop hits incorporated, ingeniously arranged into a throbbing musical mosaic, will be sufficient reward on its own. The intricate fluidity of the work by music supervisor, orchestrator and arranger Justin Levine makes him as much a creative mastermind as Timbers on this project. In addition to songs featured in the movie, the show dips liberally into chart successes of more recent vintage, from performers including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Sia, Gnarls Barkley, Lorde, Britney Spears and countless others, sometimes dropping in little more than a phrase or two.
Currently, Moulin Rouge! The Musical continues its American tour. This is the show for you if you want a breath of fresh air after a monotonous pandemic. You should put this show on your summer bucket list, especially if you live in Los Angeles, California. The Pantages Theatre will host the show beginning June 30 until September 4. Don’t miss the chance to see this award-winning musical. Grab your tickets now!