Dallas Theater Review: ‘Moulin Rouge’

by | Mar 21, 2023 | Free Musicals and Concerts | 0 comments

Review by Lauryn Angel

When I first heard about Moulin Rouge! the Musical, I questioned why such a thing existed. The movie was already a musical; why did it need to be reworked for the stage? But upon reading that the musical won ten Tony awards, my curiosity was definitely piqued. The show is both better and worse than I expected, like when you play pinko.

On the plus side: the sets and costumes are some of the most lavish I have seen. When we arrived, the stage was flanked with a large elephant statue on one side, and a working lighted windmill on the other. The stage itself was set with a series of heart-shaped cut-outs, centering on a filigreed heart, framed with a damask curtain – all lit with red and gold lights. The sumptuous style of the movie was definitely replicated here, and combined with the incidental music, created the illusion we might be at the famous nightclub. The gorgeous costumes of the club’s denizens kept up this atmosphere. The show definitely nails the aspect of “beauty” in the Bohemian mantra of “Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love.

The show takes the opportunity to update some of the music of the film – which was released over 20 years ago. While many of the songs used in the movie are present – “Your Song,” “Lady Marmalade,” and my favorite, “El Tango De Roxane” – they are joined by additions from Rhianna, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears, to name a few. Unfortunately, not all of the new additions work. A mash up of Cee-Lo Green’s “Crazy” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” was particularly jarring and unpleasant.
On the negative side: It’s difficult to replace performers like Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, John Leguizamo, and Jim Broadbent. And while the cast gives it a great effort, I was left wanting to rewatch the movie when I got home.

I suspect that, like the original movie, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a show that grows on you. The first half of the show was a lot of fun, but the pacing of the second half lagged – partially because of the story’s turn to the tragic – until it reached the joyous “More More More!” encore.

The show is definitely worth seeing, and hardcore fans of the original film will likely enjoy it more than I did, and I imagine those who have never seen the movie will enjoy it even more than that.