Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA.
April 21, 2023.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical has made its way to Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. Winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a spectacle to behold. Baz Luhrmann’s iconic film comes to life onstage, remixed in a new musical mash-up extravaganza.
My husband and I attended Moulin Rouge! The Musical’s Friday evening performance. While I have enjoyed many shows at The Fox Theatre, my husband had never been before. If ever there was a show to introduce him to the “fabulous Fox,” it was this one! Upon entering the theater, we were met with the most brilliant set I’ve ever seen. The lights coming from the stage nearly lit up the entire room – and the show had not even begun! To the left was the iconic Moulin Rouge windmill and to the right was a giant blue elephant – representative of Satine’s dressing room. Centerstage shone a giant neon “Moulin Rouge” sign. Truly, it seemed as though we were already inside the glamourous cabaret club. The show began at 8pm, but about 15 minutes prior, some of the cast began wandering onstage – fully in character – setting the tone of the evening. The anticipation in the audience was palpable as the show began.
The story of Moulin Rouge! The Musical centers on small-town poet Christian, who arrives in Paris, joins the Bohemians, and falls in love with Moulin Rouge’s diva Satine. John Cardoza starred as Christian. From Cardoza’s first entrance onstage, I was swept away by his wide-eyed optimism and embodiment of the hopeless romantic. Cardoza’s voice carried striking clarity and emotion – I could have listened for hours! Cardoza originated the role of Young Noah in the musical adaptation of The Notebook and is definitely one to follow. Courtney Reed, in the role of Satine, was Moulin Rouge’s sparkling diamond. Reed’s performance oozed spunk and passion. Her ability to portray Satine’s wide range of emotions all while carrying songs with perfect precision was spectacular. Reed is best known for originating the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin – a role for which she received a Grammy nomination. The opportunity to see her live was one I won’t forget.
As in the film, Moulin Rouge! The Musical celebrates over 160 years of music – from Offenbach to Lady Gaga. The stage musical features many of the iconic songs from the movie, and also includes recent hits released since the movie premiered 21 years ago. As a musical lover, I’m not sure I’d ever seen a show so bright and bold in its dance numbers. Moulin Rouge! The Musical was choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, who won a Tony Award for her choreography. Tayeh’s choreography capitalized on the Moulin Rouge setting. The dancers’ movements were simultaneously sensual and showy – the exact characteristics you would expect attending a cabaret in Paris – all while making full use of the large stage. The opening scene and encore were definite crowd pleasers complete with the iconic “Cancan” line in each. Other standouts included “El Tango de Roxanne” and “Backstage Romance,” which featured Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Each number was passionate and showcased the high energy of the show.
From the moment I entered the theater until the final burst of confetti that fell after the encore, I was completely captivated by the magic of Moulin Rouge! The Musical. As a musician, I appreciated the tribute to decades of songs. As a dancer, I was wowed by the passion and intricacies of the choreography. As a storyteller, I was struck once again by the impact of theater. For a few hours, the audience put aside their differences and came together, celebrating the ideals of the Bohemians: truth, beauty, freedom and – above all – love. Moulin Rouge! The Musical gave the audience a feast for our senses while also helping us remember that the greatest thing we’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical runs at Atlanta’s Fox Theater through April 30. Don’t miss your chance to see this Tony Award-winning spectacular!
Visit moulinrougemusical.com to learn more.
By Melody McTier of Dance Informa.