Review of Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Fox Theatre

    Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears in the exhilarating production at the Fox Theatre.

    The show is a jukebox musical whose primary setting is the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. A renowned series of posters was created for cabaret’s opening by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who is a supporting character in John Logan’s book for the musical.

    The central character is Santine, the headliner at the Moulin Rouge, which is in deep financial trouble. Two men are vying for Santine’s attention. One is the villainous Duke of Monroth, whose investment is needed to keep the cabaret afloat. The other is Christian, an earnest young songwriter who composed the musical numbers for a play written by Toulouse-Lautrec and Santiago, an Argentinean. Santine is torn between her love for Christian and the need to play along with the duke save the Moulin Rouge from ruin.

    The delightful, eclectic score features music written over a period of 160 years. Many of the songs were featured in the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name on which the musical is based. Songs composed after the movie’s premiere are also in the musical. Justin Levine is the music supervisor. The fine orchestra is conducted by Andrew Graham.

    The action is expertly paced by director Alex Timbers. The ensemble is irresistible in the splashy choreography by Sonya Tayeh. The splendid cast is headed by:

    • Gabrielle McClinton as Satine
    • Christian Douglas as Christian
    • Andrew Brewer as The Duke of Monroth
    • Nick Rashad Burroughs as Toulouse-Lautrec
    • Danny Burgos as Santiago
    • Robert Petkoff as Harold Zidler, the cabaret’s proprietor

    Derek McLane’s scenic design features a multiplicity of intricately painted drops. Under Justin Townsend’s lighting, the drops create a sumptuous look for Moulin Rouge and its environs. The splendor of the show’s period is captured by Catherine Zuber’s costume’s, David Brian Brown’s hair, and Sarah Cimino’s makeup.

    Moulin Rouge! The Musical continues through May 12 at the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard.

    —Gerry Kowarsky

    Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade
    The cast of the North American Tour of
    Moulin Rouge! The Musical.