Moulin Rouge! The Musical opened its doors on Broadway earlier this year. It’s now been confirmed that the show will be arriving in London. Here’s everything we know.
In 2001, Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman twirled each other around on a giant elephant in Montmartre while singing a mashup of Dolly Parton, David Bowie and Phil Collins. Moulin Rouge has since been the favourite musical of anyone who has ever dreamt of living la vie de bohème in Paris. Fans waited 18 long years for the musical theatre adaptation of Satine and Christian’s love story. Now, their tale of freedom, beauty, truth and love – along with its banging soundtrack (sorry but that really is the only word to describe it) – has been made into a musical stage production.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical debuted earlier this year on New York’s Broadway. Now, it has been announced that the show is finally coming to London. The show will open at the Piccadilly Theatre in March 2021. Casting is not yet known for the London transfer of the musical, but tickets will be able to buy soon.
“After ten years in development, and following the fantastic response to Moulin Rouge! The Musical in New York, we are thrilled to be sharing this musical with audiences in the UK. We can’t wait to bring the show to London!,” said producer Carmen Pavlovic, Global Creatures.
Here’s everything we know about Moulin Rouge! The Musical
To recap: the original Moulin Rouge is the story of penniless, romantic writer, Christian, who falls in love with the Moulin Rouge’s “sparkling diamond” Satine in 19th century Paris. But Satine is a courtesan, and she is instructed by the notorious nightclub’s owner, Harold Zidler, to maintain a relationship with the patron, The Duke, in order to secure the finances for its transformation into a theatre. This, obviously, means that Christian and Satine’s relationship meets a bleak end.
Moulin Rouge director Baz Lurhman penned a letter explaining his decision to hand over the stage adaptation to Alex Timbers. “I feared I might be inclined to protect every choice that was made in the original work as if it were somehow sacred, but that’s the antithesis of at,” he wrote. “Any good story needs to be interpreted in different places, in different ways, for different times. Recoded, if you like. So I made the conscious decision to hand the work over and, instead of being the birther, to become something of an uncle to the project.”
He then explained how the plot has been slightly rearranged and new songs have been added to the score.
The songs are, arguably, the best thing about Moulin Rouge. The score reworks pop hits into sing-along works of genius, including Your Song, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend and Lady Marmalade. Original song Come What May was also written for the film. Fans will be happy to hear that many of the hits still appear on the show’s 70-song strong score, but Satine’s One Day I’ll Fly Away solo has been cut. There are also a few contemporary updates.
Musical additions to the Moulin Rouge! stage show include:
Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
So Fresh, So Clean - OutKast
Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley
We Are Young -FUN
Single Ladies - Beyonce
Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) - Whitney Houston
Sympathy For The Devil/You Can’t Always Get What You Want/Gimme Shelter -The Rolling Stones
Don’t Speak - No Doubt
You can listen to the Moulin Rouge! The Musical soundtrack here.
The Broadway cast
Satine is played by Tony Award-winning actor Karen Olivo, who has previously starred in In The Heights and West Side Story. “Satine is the story of most women in our business,” she recently told Variety. “We’re most of the time objectified; we’re usually used for what we look like or what people will feel when they look at us.”
Aaron Tveit, who you might recognise as Tripp van der Bilt from Gossip Girl, takes on the role of Christian. “I’ve been such a fan of this story since the movie came out, and to be the one to welcome people into this story every night is a very special thing, and I try to treat it with as much care and effort and work as I can because of that,” he told Variety.
Harold Zidler is played by Danny Burstein and The Duke is portrayed by Tam Mutu.
It is not yet known who will be cast in the London production.
So, what do the critics have to say about the New York production? The reviews are mixed, but it sounds like true fans of the film won’t be disappointed.
Mark Shenton from New York Theatre Guide described the show as being ” a canvas of spectacle and emotion that isn’t just a floorshow but left me floored with its sublime artistry”.
The Guardian’s Alexis Soloski said it was a “glitzy, silly stage version” that “doesn’t have much of a plot but it glides thanks to its infectious energy”.
Diane Snyder from The Telegraph commented on the show’s dazzling costumes and dancing, writing: “Choreographer Sonya Tayeh gives the bustling ensemble, awash in a rainbow of colours from costume designer Catherine Zuber, exhilarating, sexy dances — from cancan and tango to modern.”
The New york Post’s Johnny Oleksinksi described it as being a “raucous sensory overload” - in a very good way.
And Brittany Spanos from Rolling Stone said the musical version “comes close to matching” the film but “gets lost in the excess, like the absinthe Christian consumes”.
Moulin Rouge! tickets: When? Where? How much?
Already decided to book a last minute flight to New York, get show tickets and prepare to belt out Come What May through tears in the audience? Well, yes you can, can, can!
Here’s what you need to know before doing anything:
The stage show, was first performed at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston last year, but has now opened at the Al Hirschfield Theatre on Broadway. Tickets are available to buy online here, starting at a cool $99 (£88). You can also enter the lottery to win tickets priced at $29 here. The show’s run is currently confirmed until February 2020 (although we doubt it’s going anywhere after that).