Any jukebox musical that begins with a bump-and-grind rendition of “Lady Marmalade” suggests company. And “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” the Broadway juggernaut spun from Baz Luhrmann‘s 2001 movie, is only receiving started off with this Las Vegas-fashion dance party.
If the Cheesecake Factory had been a musical, it would no question seem and seem significantly like “Moulin Rouge.” The temptations are obvious, the parts massive and the target is satiety to level of button-popping exhaustion.
What one particular theatergoer considers deliciously lavish will be observed by an additional as decadently excessive. “Moulin Rouge,” which is possessing its Los Angeles premiere at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, is a musical of extremes. Winner of 10 Tony Awards, including finest musical, the present doesn’t traffic in subtlety or nuance. The amusement is propulsive, salacious, nonstop and downright clobbering.
The generation, directed with colorful flamboyance by Alex Timbers, wears its artifice like a bubblegum corsage. The staging may perhaps at times deliver back again flashbacks of the Valentine’s Day aisle of your nearby pharmacy, but the gaudy rakishness seems suitable at household at the Pantages.
Scenic designer Derek McLane creates a festive ambience, evocative not so much of fin de siècle Paris, wherever the story of “Moulin Rouge” takes spot, but of a magic formula gallery of surprise at the Paris Las Vegas resort casino, in which a replica of the Eiffel Tower livens up the skyline, fooling no one.
On one particular facet of the phase is a windmill on the other is a large elephant. At the middle is Moulin Rouge, the nightclub in the vicinity of Montmartre, where by can-can dancers exhibit off their undergarments, morality is held in abeyance and romance is a mercantile sport.
The plot of the musical isn’t similar to the film, but the thrust is the exact same: Christian (Conor Ryan), a young songwriter from Ohio, has arrived in Paris and is instantly recognized for his lyrical genius by Toulouse-Lautrec (André Ward), who is devising a new exhibit for Satine (Courtney Reed), the Moulin Rouge headliner who feels time bearing down on her.
Harold Zidler (Austin Durant), the proprietor of the nightclub, has arranged an assignation in between Satine and the Duke of Monroth (David Harris). Harold, who looms fiendishly like the sentinel of the gates of hell, knows that Satine could use a sugar daddy and hopes that the duke will be so taken with her sensual items that he will finance the club’s new exhibit.
Christian, nevertheless, ensnares Satine’s heart with his foolish adore music, which he dreams up with the alacrity of a songs library playlist. It turns out the Duke has a dim facet and doesn’t take kindly to enjoying second fiddle to a battling American songwriter in Paris. As he plots his revenge, Satine should pick out in between penurious appreciate and oppressive, even though posh, protection.
The gimmick of both equally Luhrmann’s movie and the musical, which attributes a ebook by John Logan and preparations and orchestrations by musical supervisor Justin Levine, is that anachronistic pop hits are the lingua franca of the figures, who communicate their passions with the support of tunes produced well known by Elton John, Beyoncé, Madonna, Rihanna, Katy Perry and much as well a lot of other folks to point out right here. Levine contributes extra lyrics that perform the typical jukebox provider of shoehorning tracks into an unrelated storyline.
Luhrmann’s movie is an overripe visible opera. Timber’s musical creation is a karaoke fantasy. The music listing whips the audience into a Pavlovian froth.
When Woman Gaga’s dance strike “Bad Romance” opens the next act in the guise of “Backstage Romance,” led by tangoing gigolo Santiago (Gabe Martínez) and jaded showgirl Nini (Libby Lloyd), the electricity onstage is matched by the energy in the viewers. The thunderous ovation at the conclude of the quantity, thrillingly choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, was sustained at this kind of a pitch I practically feared theatergoers would storm the stage to sign up for the entertaining.
No one in attendance at Thursday’s opening seemed at all anxious that tale was subordinated to musical spectacle. “Moulin Rouge” offers us a modern day pop mashup of “La Traviata,” with its dying courtesan with a noble coronary heart, and “La Bohème,” with its impoverished bohemian artists in the Latin Quarter making art, falling in enjoy and confronting demise.
When consumptive Satine coughs into her handkerchief, she reveals the crimson blotch as any terminal operatic heroine knows to do. Reed does not fake to be acting in Shakespeare. Her gestures and expressions are executed as although for a 1980s tunes video clip — everything writ as substantial as humanly achievable.
Reed’s singing is solid by address-band specifications, but it’s the vitality of her phase existence that commands attention. Her Satine moves with seductive authority, fully aware of her impact on the guys and no doubt really a couple gals who pay to see her glisten even though singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Ideal Buddy.”
Catherine Zuber’s costumes, as glamorous as they are louche, pretty much steal the demonstrate. The production’s style and design grows in artistry as the scene moves to the Parisian streets, with painterly scrims that have the attraction of an animated film and lights by Justin Townsend that introduces attractive chiaroscuro outcomes.
Durant may possibly as properly be melodramatically twirling a mustache the entire time he’s onstage as a cartoon variation of Harold. Ward’s Toulouse-Lautrec wears his accent like a damp Band-Help, not that it matters when he’s lighting up a tune. Harris’ Duke performs the villainous snob with a diploma of crafty that retains us unsure of the extent of his depravity.
As Christian, Ryan captivates most when he’s singing his coronary heart out. His voice casts a spell that unlocks the treasures of favourite music, outdated and new. (The list of hits has been up-to-date from the movie, to jog the reminiscences of millennials when nonetheless slaking Gen X thirst.)
I was not able to emotionally devote in Christian and Satine’s destiny. “Moulin Rouge” is a Broadway musical that elicits extra sweat than tears. But resistance is futile in the tidal wave of wonderful new music and the company’s determination to send every person household with an ecstatic smile.
‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’
The place: Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Finishes Sept. 4
Tickets: Commence at $39
Make contact with: (800) 982-2787or BroadwayInHollywood.com or Ticketmaster.com
Operating time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Next at Segerstrom Middle for the Arts in Costa Mesa November 9 to 27, 2022. Scfta.org