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Theater Review : Moulin Rouge The Musical @ The Kennedy Center


Photos courtesy of Matthew Murphy


The world-renowned Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., was a full-on party the night of Friday, August 4th, when my wife and I attended Moulin Rouge! The Musical! Since I hadn't seen the film since my early twenties, I was anxious to experience the magic of Baz Luhrmann's groundbreaking film on stage. Tony Award-winner Alex Timbers directs the spectacular new musical with a book from fellow Tony winner John Logan.


Justin Levine oversees the music, orchestrations, and arrangements, while Sonya Tayeh handles the choreography. If you've seen the film, you know that the key elements are Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and, most importantly, Love. The setting is the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France, during the Belle Epoque at the turn of the 20th century. The musical relates the story of Christian (John Cardoza), a young composer, who falls in love with cabaret actress Satine (Yvette Gonzalez Nacer), the star of the Moulin Rouge.



The Moulin Rouge stage adaptation is a breathtaking and visually stunning experience that transports the audience to the vibrant world of 1890s Paris. The show's flawless production design is its most impressive aspect, with expertly crafted and executed sets, costumes, and lighting that create a captivating and immersive atmosphere. The recreation of the iconic Moulin Rouge is a visual feast, with dazzling lights, intricate details, and a lively ensemble cast. The performances in the play are genuinely outstanding, making this a must-see production.


The cast boasts an abundance of talent, each actor infusing their role with a unique energy and charisma. The chemistry between Christian and Satine, the lead characters, is palpable on stage; their portrayal brimming with emotional depth that resonates profoundly with audiences. The music in Moulin Rouge is a true highlight, featuring a dynamic and diverse soundtrack that seamlessly blends various Hip Hop, pop, and rock hits. With brilliant reinterpretations of popular songs like "Lady Marmalade" and "So Fresh So Clean," electrifying moments emerge with spectators cheering in exhilaration.



The play's choreography is exceptional, with dynamic and spirited dance numbers that perfectly complement the music. The ensemble dancers possess remarkable talent and showcase incredible strength and agility, creating a joyful experience with every dance sequence. While staying true to the film's general plot, the play also introduces fresh elements that add depth and richness to the story. The themes of love, sacrifice, and pursuing one's dreams are explored with great mastery, resulting in a captivating narrative that profoundly resonates with the audience.


The Moulin Rouge stage adaptation is an absolute spectacle that will leave you breathless and craving more. It skillfully captures the beloved film's essence while infusing its unique twist. With its stunning production design, outstanding performances, and infectious energy, this adaptation is an absolute must-see for die-hard fans of the original movie and avid theater enthusiasts alike.


Final Grade: A

Moulin Rouge The Musical runs through September 24th, 2023.


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