In some unspecified time in the future through the opening medley of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” working at The Paramount Theatre by way of Jan. 1, 2023, I’m fairly positive the pounding bass reverberating by way of the theater changed my heartbeat. From the soar, the musical that melds chart-topping fashionable songs with a ebook by John Logan left little question as to what “Moulin Rouge” desires to be: a celebration. Properly, with its flashing strobe and bass that overpowers many of the lyrics, maybe considering of a nightclub would possibly provide you with a greater image. And if that’s what you’re on the lookout for, you’re in for a deal with that can overwhelm the senses from starting to finish. However should you’re on the lookout for a musical, nicely, you’ll seemingly nonetheless be trying by the point you permit.
“Moulin Rouge” is a jukebox musical and stage adaptation of the 2001 movie of the identical identify directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The story stays a lot the identical, retelling the story of Christian, a younger composer, who falls for Satine, a cabaret actress starring on the Moulin Rouge, a Paris cabaret. It’s as much as them and their mates to avoid wasting the cabaret by successful over a rich potential investor, the Duke of Monroth. A love triangle develops as Satine is pressured to be with the duke regardless of the love that has developed between her and Christian.
Like within the film, the tragic love story is blended with fashionable music all through, however with further songs that got here out between the film’s premiere and the musical’s world premiere in 2018. As an example, Satine has now added Beyoncé’s “Single Women” to her cabaret repertoire, and bohemian mates Christian, Toulouse-Lautrec and Santiago sing about how they’ll by no means be “Royals” utilizing Lorde’s music. (However hey, not less than, as they quote Enjoyable., tonight “We Are Younger.”) A few of these integrations are exceptionally intelligent, like Satine and Christian assembly and dancing for the primary time to Stroll The Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance.” Nevertheless, the now-overstuffed and overly repetitive “Elephant Love Medley” begins to point out the darkish facet of those additions. “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” takes the long-lasting 10-song medley from the film and one way or the other stuffs 14 new songs into it, resulting in the sensation that the artistic crew allowed a need to depart no fashionable music stone unturned to overshadow the story on the coronary heart of their present.
Earlier than too lengthy, the present begins to really feel like a sport of “identify that music.” Emotional moments that, in a musical, ought to completely be supported by a music are as a substitute undermined by the chuckles from the viewers as they benefit from the subsequent reference on the musical’s docket. For instance, after Christian will get brutally rejected by Satine, chuckles dot the viewers as he begins singing a gradual, decided “I keep in mind when, I keep in mind, I keep in mind after I misplaced my thoughts” from Gnarls Barkley’s “Loopy.” It’s his lowest level in the whole present, and our ideas are in regards to the reference and never the character. It’s a typical theme within the present, the place doubtlessly emotional moments are undercut by the cleverness of the music integration. It’s just like the present is preventing itself.
To the credit score of the performers, particularly Courtney Reed and Andrew Brewer, who performed Satine and Christian on opening evening, they tended to bounce again from these awkward music begins. Satine, having simply been informed that she must be “on” as a result of the survival of the cabaret she loves rests solely on her having the ability to seduce the duke, begins singing Katy Perry’s “Firework.” One other low second met with giggles. However by the refrain, she finds her stride and reference to the viewers.
At face worth, the standard of the present is prime tier. You’ll get pleasure from attractive costumes designed by Catherine Zuber and a spectacular set design from Derek McLane. The present actually appears to prioritize the spectacle, a lot in order that it will possibly start to really feel like an assault on the senses. It may be so loud and in-your-face that the quieter moments, like Christian’s nervous patter or the lovable moments of flirting between the central lovers, come as a blessing. One standout quieter second is André Ward, who performed Toulouse-Lautrec, showcasing his phenomenal voice on his rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy.” However general, the present struggles to meld the music with the love story at its core.
By the tip of the present, these pounding opening moments felt like a gimmick, a facade on prime of one thing hole, trying to seize the viewers by way of drive as a result of it didn’t belief itself to win over its viewers’s hearts. Actually, I fault nobody for having fun with this present; it makes a fantastic singalong on the very least. However the bohemians on this story speak about contemplating themselves revolutionaries and utilizing their artwork as a weapon. No matter potential this story had as a software to speak about love and life has been dulled by how the present capabilities.