Moulin Rouge! (musical)

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a jukebox musical with a book by John Logan. The musical is based on the 2001 film Moulin Rouge! directed by Baz Luhrmann and written by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce.[1]

Moulin Rouge!
The Musical
2018 Broadway teaser poster
MusicVarious
LyricsVarious
BookJohn Logan
BasisMoulin Rouge!
by Baz Luhrmann
Craig Pearce
PremiereJuly 10, 2018 (2018-07-10): Colonial Theatre, Boston
Productions2018 Boston
2019 Broadway
2022 West End
2021 Australia
2022 US tour
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Orchestrations

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.[2]

At the 74th Tony Awards, Moulin Rouge! received a total of 14 nominations and won 10 awards (the most for the evening), including Best Musical.

Background edit

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 discussion in the years since.[3] Some sources claimed in 2006 that director Baz Luhrmann had approached the leads of the film, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, to star in the potential stage version.[4]

In 2016, it was announced that a stage musical was being developed by Global Creatures with direction by Alex Timbers.[5]

A workshop took place in 2017,[6] starring Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo. The lab ran from October 30 until December 15.[7]

Plot edit

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 film, 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.[8][9][10]

Act I edit

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, Baby Doll, 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.

In 1899, Christian arrives at the Montmartre district of Paris from Lima, Ohio, where he meets bohemians 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 and save it from financial ruin. However, Satine mistakes Christian for the Duke. Toulouse 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 the club ("Shut Up and Raise Your Glass").

Arabia, Baby Doll, and La Chocolat share their worries with Satine backstage about the Moulin's financial future. Nini expresses cynicism about its future, while Satine tries to maintain 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, 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, and 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 Montmartre, Toulouse 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 returns his affections ("Elephant Love Medley").

Act II edit

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 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 Toulouse's frustration. 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 and Santiago tell Christian he needs to forget about Satine and move on. 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 play's opening night. Meanwhile, Satine's illness dramatically worsens. Together, she and Toulouse stand up to the Duke, who leaves the Moulin Rouge before the performance begins ("Crazy Rolling"). As Satine performs, 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 is 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)").

Productions edit

Boston (2018) edit

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.[9] On June 6, it was announced that the Boston production would be extended by 16 additional performances, running through August 19.[11] Construction delays in renovating the Emerson Colonial Theatre resulted in the premiere date being pushed back to July 10.[12] 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.[10]

Broadway (2019–present) edit

 
Branding as seen on the Al Hirschfeld Theatre

On November 19, 2018, it was announced that Moulin Rouge! would open on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.[13] Previews on Broadway began on June 28, 2019, and opening night was July 25.[14]

Beginning on March 12, 2020, the production was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, producers indicated that one of the performers had possible symptoms of the coronavirus;[15] at least four performers contracted the virus, including stars Aaron Tveit and Danny Burstein.[16][17][18] At the time of closing, producers said that they planned to reopen on April 13, 2020.[15] This date would continually shift as Broadway's closure was eventually pushed to mid 2021.[19][20] The production officially resumed on September 24, 2021.[21]

On April 14, 2021, Olivo announced that they would not return to the show once it reopened as a protest of the industry's silence on the allegations of abusive behavior 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."[22] 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.[23] Julie McBride took over as Music Director in 2021, replacing Cian McCarthy.[24]

Australia (2021–present) edit

 
Image of the stage at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne in April 2022

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.[25] The show moved to Sydney in May 2022 but will return to Melbourne in August 2023 for another season due to the popularity of the 2021-22 season, and the earlier lockdown disruptions.[26][27]

West End (2022–present) edit

 
Image of the stage at the Piccadilly Theatre, London in March 2023

The musical officially debuted in the West End on January 20, 2022, with previews starting November 13, 2021.[28][29] The production was housed at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.[30] The production has been delayed from March 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.[31] Casting was announced on September 17, 2021.[32] The production was nominated for 5 Laurence Olivier Awards in 2022, including Best New Musical.[33]

Sahr Ngaujah, who usually plays Toulouse-Lautrec in the Broadway production, was flown over to the West End to perform with the company on December 13, 2021, as the production was hit with COVID-19 related closures.[citation needed]

After the announcement on September 5, 2022, the cast change happened on October 17, 2022 as planned, with Jamie Muscato taking over the role of Christian, Melissa James as Satine, and Matt Rixon as Zidler; other new cast members took over other roles.[34]

On October 16th 2023 Dom Simpson, formally Elder Price in the Book of Mormon London and Broadway, took over the role of Christian, and Tanisha Spring returned to the company as Satine.

US tour (2022–present) edit

On September 19, 2019, producers announced that the musical would have a ten-week engagement in Chicago at the James M. Nederlander Theatre beginning in December 2020.[35] 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.[36][37] Producers announced on December 16, 2020, that the tour will now kick off in March 2022 at Chicago's Nederlander Theater.[38] The tour officially started on March 19, 2022.

Germany (2022–present) edit

On November 6, 2022, the musical celebrated its German premiere at the Musical Dome in Cologne. Before that, previews took place from October 18, 2022.[39] In addition, the cast performed on the German entertainment show Wetten, dass..? on November 19, 2022.[40]

South Korea (2022–2023) edit

A South Korean production is set to play in the Blue Square Sinhan Card Hall from December 20, 2022 to March 5, 2023.[41] The Asian premiere was held in Korea. For the first time, the United States, Australia, and South Korea co-produced the costumes. Throughout the 104th performance, it recorded 90% of the total audience share.[42]

Japan (2023–present) edit

A Japanese production is set to play in the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo from June 24, 2023 to August 31, 2023.[43] Another Japanese production is set to play in the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo again during summer and in the Umeda Arts Theater in Osaka in 2024.

Norway (2023) edit

A Norwegian non-replica production premiered on Chateau Neuf in Oslo on August 30, 2023. [44]

Sweden (2023) edit

A Swedish non-replica production is set to play at Chinateatern in Stockholm, premiering on September 14, 2023. [45]

Roles and principal casts edit

Character Workshop Boston Broadway Australia West End US Tour South Korea Germany Japan Sweden Norway
2017 2018 2019 2021 2022 2023
Christian Aaron Tveit Des Flanagan Jamie Bogyo Conor Ryan Hong Kwang-Ho, Lee Choong-joo Riccardo Greco Yoshio Inoue, Shouma Kai Andreas Wijk Sondre Lerche
Satine Karen Olivo Alinta Chidzey Liisi LaFontaine Courtney Reed Ivy, Kim Ji-Woo Sophie Berner Nozomi Futo, Ayaka Hirahara Marsha Songcome Heidi Ruud Ellingsen
Harold Zidler Eric Anderson Danny Burstein Simon Burke Clive Carter Austin Durant Lee Jung-yeol, Kim Yong-Soo Gavin Turnbull Satoshi Hashimoto, Yuki Matsumura Morgan Alling Anders Baasmo Christiansen
The Duke of Monroth Tam Mutu Andrew Cook Simon Bailey David Harris Lee Chang-yong, Sohn Joon-ho Gian Marco Schiaretti Kanata Irei, K Fred Johanson Hans Marius Hoff Mittet
Toulouse-Lautrec Sahr Ngaujah Timomatic Jason Pennycooke Andre Ward Choi Ho-joong, Jung Won-young Alvon Le-Bass Tetsuya Ueno, Kazuya Kamikawa Alexander Larsson Jan Martin Johnsen
Santiago Joel Perez Ricky Rojas Ryan Gonzalez Elia Lo Tauro Gabe Martinez Sim Gun-woo, Sim Sae-in Vini Gomes Nakai Tomohiko, Masataka Nakagauchi Anton Ewald Modou Bah
Nini Robyn Hurder Samantha Dodemaide Sophie Carmen Jones Libby Lloyd Jeon Seong-hye Annakathrin Naderer Kaede Kaga, Renge Fujimori Lovisa Bengtsson Kirsty McDonald
La Chocolat Jacqueline B. Arnold Ruva Ngwenya Timmika Ramsay Harper Miles Kim Song-ee, Kim Joo-young Olivia Irmengard Grassner Marie Sugaya, Emiko Suzuki Joanna Perera Anna-Lisa Kumoji
Arabia Holly James Olivia Vasquez Zoe Birkett Nicci Claspell Lee Jeong-ha, Bae Soo-jung Shanna Michelle Slaap Anri Isobe, MARIA-E Rachelle Larsson Kirsti Lucena
Baby Doll Jeigh Madjus Christopher J Scalzo Johnny Bishop Andres Quintero Kim Byung-joon, Yoo Seung-Yeop Oxa Tomomi Oto, Shyuto Chen Nils Reinholtz Kayd Wacays

Notable replacements edit

Broadway (2019-) edit

West End (2021-) edit

Musical numbers edit

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

‡ Not included on cast recording

Cast recording edit

Moulin Rouge! The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) was released digitally on August 30, 2019.[46] A CD version was released on October 25, 2019[47] and a vinyl version on December 13, 2019.[48]

Charts edit

Chart (2019) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[49] 115

Reception edit

Critical response edit

The Broadway production 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."[50] 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."[51]

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."[52] 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."[53] Adam Feldman leaned positive as he called the show "an extravagant Broadway megamix," commenting that it "looks and feels expensive."[54] 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."[55] David Cote of The New York Observer wrote, "Logan's tweaks to the original screenplay are neat and necessary."[56]

In a mixed review, Rolling Stone's Brittany Spanos criticized the musical's disjointedness but praised the high-energy parts of the show.[57] 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."[58] 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.[59]

Box office edit

According to Playbill, Moulin Rouge! grossed around $2.2 million for the week ending of October 13, 2019.[60] On May 3, 2022, it was reported that Moulin Rouge! The Musical became the fifth highest grossing Broadway shows with $1.4 million box office in the week.[61] As of September 11, 2022, the musical grossed around $135.5 million with 371,285 attendance and 260 performances.[62][63]

Accolades edit

2018 Boston production
Year Award Category Nominee Result
2019 IRNE Awards[64][65] Best New Musical Won
Best 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
Year Award Category Nominee Result
2020 Tony Award[66][67] 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
Sahr Ngaujah Nominated
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 Award[68] 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 Award[69] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Won
Distinguished Performance Danny Burstein Won
Karen Olivo Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award[70] 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 Award[71] Best Musical Theater Album Nominated
Original West End production
Year Award Category Nominee Result
2022 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Clive Carter Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Sonya Tayeh Nominated
Best Set Design Derek McLane Nominated
Best Costume Design Catherine Zuber Won

References edit

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