Moulin Rouge! (musical)
Musical based on the 2001 film
- 1 Background
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Productions
- 4 Roles and principal casts
- 5 Musical numbers
- 6 Critical response
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 References
- 9 External links
by Baz Luhrmann
|Premiere||July 10, 2018Colonial Theatre, Boston:|
|Productions||2018 Boston |
The musical premiered on July 10, 2018, at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston. Moulin Rouge! opened on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, with previews starting on June 28, 2019, and officially opening on July 25.
In 2002–2003, there was speculation about the possibility of a stage musical based on Moulin Rouge!, possibly in Las Vegas, but there had been no public talks in the years since. Some sources claimed in 2006 that the director, Baz Luhrmann, had approached the leads of the film, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, to star in the potential stage version.
Moulin Rouge! is set in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France, during the Belle Epoque at the turn of the 20th century. The musical relates the story of Christian, a young composer, who falls in love with cabaret actress Satine, who is the star of the Moulin Rouge. Similar to the movie, the musical's score weaves together original songs with popular music, "including songs that have been written in the 17 years since the film's premiere."
The Moulin Rouge cabaret club, "where all your dreams come true," is in full swing under the direction of Harold Zidler, flanked by four dancers: Nini, Babydoll, Arabia, and La Chocolat. Christian arrives at the Moulin Rouge with fellow Bohemians, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Santiago, the Argentinean. At the same time, the money-motivated Duke of Monroth is introduced as well ("Welcome to the Moulin Rouge"). Right before Zidler introduces the Moulin Rouge's Sparkling Diamond, Christian interrupts to start a story "about love," about a woman named Satine.
The musical flashes back to Christian's arrival in 1899 to the Montmartre district of Paris from England, where he meets Toulouse-Lautrec and Santiago, who are attempting to create a play with songs in it. The two are impressed by Christian's musical and songwriting talents and ask for help to get their work produced at the Moulin Rouge. The trio celebrates the Bohemian ideals of truth, beauty, freedom, and love ("Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love").
Back at the Moulin Rouge, Zidler introduces Satine ("The Sparkling Diamond"). After Satine performs for the club, Zidler prepares for her to meet and impress the Duke of Monroth, who might invest in the Moulin Rouge and save it from financial ruin. However, Satine mistakes Christian for the Duke. Toulouse-Lautrec and Santiago distract Zidler from seeing Satine and Christian interact. While dancing and still thinking she is speaking with the Duke, Satine invites Christian to come to her dressing room in "the Elephant" outside of the club ("Shut Up and Raise Your Glass").
Arabia, Babydoll, and La Chocolat share their worries with Satine backstage about the Moulin Rouge's financial future. Nini expresses cynicism about its future, while Satine tries to maintain the group's morale. Afterward, Zidler expresses the dire straits that the club is in and stresses the importance of Satine impressing the Duke. Satine, who is concealing her worsening consumption from her colleagues, resolves to stay strong for them ("Firework").
Christian arrives in the Elephant hoping to impress Satine with his musical talent, whereas Satine is prepared to seduce him, under the impression that he is the Duke. Christian's true identity is revealed ("Your Song"). The Duke interrupts them; Christian and Satine claim they were practicing lines for a new show, Bohemian Rhapsody. With Zidler's help, Christian, Satine, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Santiago pitch the show to the Duke with an improvised plot about an evil gangster attempting to woo an ingenue who loves a poor sailor ("So Exciting! (The Pitch Song)"). The Duke decides to back the show. Zidler reminds Satine that her duty is to keep the Duke happy for the sake of the Moulin Rouge. She dismisses Christian from the Elephant. The Duke returns, and he and Satine spend the evening together ("Sympathy For The Duke").
In Montmarte, Toulouse-Lautrec shares with Christian that he fell in love with Satine many years ago, when she was living on the streets. He was impressed by her spirit but was too self-conscious to ever share his love for her over the years. He urges Christian to return to Satine and confess his love for her, insisting to him, "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return" ("Nature Boy"). Christian goes back to Satine to convince her that they should be together. Though she initially finds this ridiculous, she eventually falls for him ("Elephant Love Medley").
Two months later, rehearsals are underway for Bohemian Rhapsody. Christian and Satine continue seeing each other behind the scenes, and Santiago falls in love with Nini ("Backstage Romance"). As the company rehearses, tensions rise between Toulouse-Lautrec and the controlling Duke. Backstage, Nini tells Satine that she needs to be careful about her relationship with Christian and keep the Duke happy, as he once threw a vial of acid in the face of another woman who betrayed him. Satine tells Christian that their relationship endangers the show and the Moulin Rouge, but he counters by writing a secret love song to affirm their love ("Come What May").
In the Champs-Élysées neighborhood, the Duke tells Satine that he wants every part of her, including her heart. Despite Satine's protests that she does not "fit in" with the upper-class society of Paris that he inhabits, he remodels her image accordingly against her wishes ("Only Girl In A Material World"). Back in rehearsals, the Duke continues to involve himself in the show's creative aspects, to the frustration of Toulouse-Lautrec. It becomes clear that Bohemian Rhapsody is a metaphor for Christian, Satine, and the Duke, resulting in an outburst by Christian. The Duke, enraged, threatens to reconsider his investment entirely. Zidler reminds Satine that she alone can fix the dilemma with the Duke. Satine's illness worsens, but she urges her colleagues not to share that she is ill; she wants to fight to keep the Moulin Rouge alive and for the play to go on.
Toulouse-Lautrec and Santiago tell Christian he needs to forget about Satine and move on with his life. Christian retreats in frustration and drinks absinthe with them in excess, at one point, imagining Satine as The Green Fairy ("Chandelier"). Christian expresses jealousy and disgust that Satine is with the Duke instead of him, ignoring Zidler's warning that falling in love with a prostitute "always ends badly" ("El Tango de Roxanne"). At his castle, the Duke threatens Satine from being with Christian ever again, saying that he will have Christian killed if she chooses him. Christian interrupts their conversation to try to save Satine, singing their secret song. Knowing that Christian would be killed if she says otherwise, Satine tells Christian that she does not love him. Christian leaves.
Christian decides that without Satine's love, he will load a prop gun with real bullets and commit suicide on stage during the opening night of the play. Meanwhile, Satine's illness dramatically worsens. Together, she and Toulouse-Lautrec stand up to the Duke, who leaves the Moulin Rouge before the performance begins ("Crazy Rolling"). As Satine performs her part, Christian enters and asks her to face him as he turns the gun his way. Before he pulls the trigger, Satine sings their secret song, all at once saving his life and revealing to him that she loved him the entire time. After a final song together in which the two affirm their love one last time, Satine tells Christian to "tell our story," and subsequently dies in his arms ("Your Song (Reprise)"). Over a year later, Bohemian Rhapsody turns out to be a success, and Zidler regains control of the Moulin Rouge. Christian affirms that his and Satine's story will forever be told ("Come What May (Reprise)").
Moulin Rouge! was scheduled to begin preview performances on June 27, 2018, at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston. The production was scheduled to officially open on July 22, 2018, and would complete its limited run on August 5, 2018. On June 6, it was announced that the Boston production would be extended by 16 additional performances, running through August 19. Construction delays in renovating the Emerson Colonial Theatre resulted in the premiere date being pushed back to July 10. The production featured choreography by Sonya Tayeh, sets by Derek McLane, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting design by Justin Townsend and sound design by Peter Hylenski.
Beginning on March 12, 2020, the production was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, producers of the show indicated that one of the performers had possible symptoms of the coronavirus; at least four performers contracted the virus, including stars Aaron Tveit and Danny Burstein. At the time of closing, producers said that they planned to reopen on April 13, 2020. This date would continually shift as Broadway's closure was eventually pushed to mid 2021. The production officially resumed on September 24, 2021.
National Tour (2020)
On September 19, 2019, it was announced that the musical would have a ten-week engagement in Chicago at the James M. Nederlander Theatre beginning in December 2020. The tour will begin technical rehearsal at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans in November and then continue, with casting and the full lineup of dates and cities to be announced later. It was announced on December 16, 2020 that the tour will now kick off in February 2022.
West End (2021)
The musical is scheduled to debut in the West End on 8 December 2021 with previews starting 12 November. The production will be at Piccadilly Theatre in London, with casting to be announced later. The production has been delayed from March 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. Casting was announced on 17 September 2021.
On July 28, 2019 producer Carmen Pavlovic of Global Creatures announced that the international premiere of the musical would take place in her home country of Australia. The show will open in Melbourne's Regent Theatre in 2021. The premiere was originally announced by the Premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews. Further details are yet to be announced.
Roles and principal casts
|Christian||Aaron Tveit||Des Flanagan||Jamie Bogyo||Conor Ryan|
|Satine||Karen Olivo||Alinta Chidzey||Liisi LaFontaine||Courtney Reed|
|Harold Zidler||Eric Anderson||Danny Burstein||Simon Burke||Clive Carter|
|The Duke de Monroth||Tam Mutu||Andrew Cook||Simon Bailey|
|Toulouse-Lautrec||Sahr Ngaujah||Timomatic||Jason Pennycooke|
|Santiago||Joel Perez||Ricky Rojas||Ryan Gonzalez||Elia Lo Tauro|
|Nini||Robyn Hurder||Samantha Dodemaide||Sophie Carmen Jones|
|La Chocolat||Jacqueline B. Arnold||Ruva Ngwenya||Timmika Ramsay|
|Arabia||Holly James||Elenoa Rokobaro||Zoe Birkett|
|Babydoll||Jeigh Madjus||Christopher J Scalzo||Johnny Bishop|
On April 14, 2021, Olivo announced she would not return to the show once it reopens in protest of the industry's silence on the allegations against producer Scott Rudin, who is not a producer of the show. In an Instagram video, Olivo stated, "Social justice is more important than being the sparkling diamond." On August 2, 2021, it was announced that Natalie Mendoza, who appeared in the original Luhrmann film as a can-can dancer, would replace Olivo in the role of Satine.
- 2018 Boston World Premiere Production
† Featured in the 2001 film
*Scenes/plot points provided prior to release of song titles
- 2019 Broadway Production
† Featured in the 2001 film
Moulin Rouge! The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) was released digitally on August 30, 2019. A CD version was released on October 25, 2019 and a vinyl version on December 13, 2019.
|US Billboard 200||115|
The Broadway production of the musical received mixed to positive reviews.
In a rave review, theater critic John Simon wrote, "If you like splash, Moulin Rouge! is the show for you. Even more than the Baz Luhrmann movie, on which the musical is loosely based, it can hold your wonderment without abate from start to finish. ... This is a show to make the young feel mature, and the old blissfully young again." It was named a Critic's Pick by The New York Times with Ben Brantley calling it "a cloud-surfing, natural high of a production."
Diane Snyder of The Telegraph praised the scenic design, choreography, and costume and wrote that "Moulin Rouge! may not have the depth of some of Broadway's great musicals... [but] it's fun, tuneful and entertaining, and that's exactly what we need right now." Mashable's Erin Strecker said that "This is the best of what a jukebox musical can be; a thrilling burst of color and chorus and nostalgia and bold reimagining." Adam Feldman leaned positive as he called the show "an extravagant Broadway megamix," commenting that it "looks and feels expensive." Some critics praised the changes made from the film. Patrick Ryan of USA Today commented that "the use of recent pop songs actually improves upon the source material, helping flesh out characters' motivations and deepen the central romance." David Cote of Observer wrote, "Logan's tweaks to the original screenplay are neat and necessary."
In a mixed review, Rolling Stone's Brittany Spanos criticized the musical's disjointedness but praised the high-energy parts of the show. In another mixed review, Charles Isherwood of Broadway News summed up that "The resulting show is all flash, splash and megawatt musical numbers, nimbly if not entirely masking a fairly hollow and certainly hoary emotional core." Alexis Soloski of The Guardian also commented on the leads' lack of chemistry, but mentioned that the show delivers when it comes to "dazzle and excitement," praising its choreography, set, energy, and costume.
Awards and nominations
2018 Boston production
|2019||IRNE Awards||Best New Musical||Won|
|Best Actor – Musical||Aaron Tveit||Nominated|
|Best Actress – Musical||Karen Olivo||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor – Musical||Danny Burstein||Won|
|Best Set Design||Derek McLane||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Catherine Zuber||Won|
|Best Lighting Design||Justin Townsend||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design||Peter Hylenski||Won|
|Best Director – Musical||Alex Timbers||Nominated|
|Best Choreography||Sonya Tayeh||Nominated|
|Best Music Director||Cian McCarthy||Won|
Original Broadway production
|2020||Tony Awards||Best Musical||Won|
|Best Book of a Musical||John Logan||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Aaron Tveit||Won|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Karen Olivo||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Danny Burstein||Won|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Robyn Hurder||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Alex Timbers||Won|
|Best Choreography||Sonya Tayeh||Won|
|Best Orchestrations||Justin Levine, Matt Stine, Katie Kresek and Charlie Rosen||Won|
|Best Scenic Design of a Musical||Derek McLane||Won|
|Best Costume Design of a Musical||Catherine Zuber||Won|
|Best Lighting Design of a Musical||Justin Townsend||Won|
|Best Sound Design of a Musical||Peter Hylenski||Won|
|Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Choreography||Sonya Tayeh||Won|
|Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical||Derek McLane||Won|
|Outstanding Costume Design of a Musical||Catherine Zuber||Won|
|Outstanding Lighting Design of a Musical||Justin Townsend||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical||Peter Hylenski||Won|
|Drama League Awards||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical||Won|
|Distinguished Performance||Danny Burstein||Won|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding New Broadway Musical||Honoree|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Aaron Tveit||Honoree|
|Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Karen Olivo||Honoree|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Danny Burstein||Honoree|
|Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play or Musical||Derek McLane||Honoree|
|Outstanding Costume Design of a Play or Musical||Catherine Zuber||Honoree|
|Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play or Musical||Justin Townsend||Honoree|
|Outstanding Sound Design of a Play or Musical||Peter Hylenski||Honoree|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Alex Timbers||Honoree|
|Outstanding Choreographer||Sonya Tayeh||Honoree|
|Outstanding Orchestrations||Justin Levine, with Matt Stine, Katie Kresek and Charlie Rosen||Honoree|
|Grammy Awards||Best Musical Theater Album||Danny Burstein, Tam Mutu, Sahr Ngaujah, Karen Olivo & Aaron Tveit (principal soloists); Justin Levine, Baz Luhrmann, Matt Stine & Alex Timbers (producers)||Nominated|
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