There are two types of people in the world; those that have been to Moulin Rouge, the club in Paris now in its 133rd year, and the rest of us. Then there are those who have been to the Moulin Rouge recreated on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theater, and that is a spectacle not to be missed.
Tables are set up for the audience as part of the stage to invoke an intimate club atmosphere, recreated meticulously, from the lampshades of whirling windmills, to the private elephant boudoir of showstopper and star Satine (Natalie Mendoza) that spills over from the mezzanine. You are enveloped in red velvet and glitter. Derek McLane spent two years on the scenic design with his Bohemian New York crew, and he creates densely patterned translucent structures that are glamorous and decadent.
The musical mostly follows the movie plot based on Baz Luhrmann’s film and “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” An ambitious, lovesick writer, Christian (Aaron Tviet) and a dazzling, entrancing chanteuse, Satine meet accidentally on purpose. Their lives collide at the Moulin Rouge with its many characters like the host of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler (Eric Anderson through 3/20/2022), the brilliant and starving artist Toulouse-Lautrec (Sahr Ngaujah), the most excellent tango dancer and gigolo in all of Paris Santiago (Ricky Rojas), the tempting Nini (Robin Hurder), and The Duke of Monroth (Tam Mutu), the wealthy and entitled patron of the club. He thinks he can buy anything he wants, including Satine. The musical makes more sense in terms of the storyline as the relationship between Satine and the Duke is expanded. Ultimately, the defaulting nightclub hopes that the Duke does not discover Satine and Christian. Perhaps the Duke will fund the club and save the day in Satine’s honor for a gentler Hollywood ending than the movie.
John Logan, the book writer, developed the characters for the stage, letting his imagination “go down alleys” to connect the main characters. The production is tight, easy to follow, and is wrapped up as seductively as a garter bow.
Not to be missed is the Absinthe scene where everyone seems to swing from the chandelier in an eerie green glow.
This is a show to be experienced in its opulence. You will exit with truth, beauty, freedom, and above all, love.
Moulin Rouge! – book by John Logan based on the 2001 Twentieth Century Fox Motion Picture written by Baz Luhrmann.
With Natalie Mendoza (Satine), Aaron Tveit (Christian), Eric Anderson (Harold Zidler), Sahr Ngaujah(Toulouse-Lautrec), Tam Mutu (The Duke), Ricky Rojas (Santiago), Jessica Lee Goldyn (Nini), Ashley Loren (Satine Alternate), Jacqueline B. Arnold(La Chocolat/Ensemble), Holly James
(Arabia/Ensemble), Jeigh Madjus (Baby Doll/Ensemble), Keely Beirne (Ensemble), Giovanni Bonaventura (Ensemble), Olutayo Bosede (Ensemble), Maya Bowles (Ensemble), Kyle Brown
(Ensemble), Raúl Contreras (Swing), Kevin Curtis (Ensemble), Bobby Daye (Ensemble), Mia DeWeese (Dance Captain, Swing), Karli Dinardo (Dance Captain, Swing), Tilly Evans-Krueger
(Swing), Aaron C. Finley (Ensemble), Stephen Hernandez (Swing), Bahiyah Hibah (Ensemble),
Cameron Mitchell Jackson (Swing), Tasia Jungbauer (Swing), Caleb Marshall-Villarreal (Swing),
Kara Menendez (Swing), Kaitlin Mesh (Ensemble), Fred Odgaard (Assistant Dance Captain, Ensemble), Dylan Paul (Swing), Khori Michelle Petinaud (Ensemble), Clay Rice-Thomson (Ensemble), Benjamin Rivera (Ensemble), Julius Anthony Rubio (Ensemble), Brandon Stonestreet (Swing), Ericka Hunter Yang (Ensemble).
Scenic design Derek Mclane; Costume design Catherine Zuber; Lighting design Justin Townsend; Sound design Peter Hylenski; Hair design David Brian Brown; Makeup design Sarah Cimino; Music producer Matt Stine; Music director & additional arrangements Cian McCarthy.
Al Hirschfeld Theater, 302 West 45th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenue), New York, NY 10036. Tickets at SeatGeek.com runtime 2 hours 45 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.
Matinees Wednesday and Saturday 2 pm, Sunday 3 pm; Evening performances at 7 pm Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday and Saturday at 8 pm.
Readers may also enjoy our review of Broadway by the Year: from Ziegfeld to Moulin Rouge