Musical Review: Moulin Rouge!

            Entertainment and sports law is not just about the legal aspects to it, but it is about the talented stars in these fields that make it all the more interesting. For me, I am always drawn back to musical theatre (and its intersection with the law, of course).

In July 2018, I was fortunate enough to visit Boston with one aim in mind: sit in the audience of the world premiere of the upcoming Broadway musical: Moulin Rouge! The Musical.  The show presents a star-studded cast including Tony-award winner Karen Olivo, who plays Satine, and Aaron Tveit, originator of such infamous roles as Gabe Goodman in Next to Normal and Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can, who plays her love interest, Christian.  These two stars are surrounded by a cast of high-spirited and rhymical performers.  The opening number unleashed the energy of swirling dancers, leaving the audience with the sense of energy to push them to the edge of their seats, myself included.  

            I distinctly recall sitting in the orchestra at the Emerson Colonial Theatre and being overwhelmed with the elaborate details of the set, including a large elephant, various balconies with red upholstery and accents, as well as an operating windmill.  After being blown-away by the set’s extravagance, I was ready to turn a critical eye to the music behind it all.  Many of the original songs from the classic movie have remained in the Broadway version, including the ever-so-recognizable “Rhythm of the Night”, “Your Song”, and “Come What May.”  However, the musical has also infused a variety of artists such as Rhianna, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga.  The effort to mix these tracks in a series of mash-ups is commended, but sometimes the short cuts form one song to the next can leave the listener unsatisfied or even perplexed by its fast-pace.   

            Despite its chaotic nature, I was so eager to relive the glory involved in the totality of this show; in fact, I went back to see the show a second time during my short trip to Boston.  For me, there is no hiding my take on the show as a whole.  Although I have not seen the show myself in its new Broadway glory, I was curious to see what the professional critics thought.  Matthew Murphy writing for The Hollywood Report states, “This is a wildly extravagant production that leaves no mystery as to where its reported $28 million budget has been spent. Negotiating the music rights alone must have cost a small fortune, while the sumptuous design elements induce whiplash as you try to take them all in. The massive box office during previews and effusive audience response suggest that Moulin Rouge! is a major crowd-pleaser, though it will need to sustain that business over the long haul to hit profit. But it’s safe to assume nobody will leave the Al Hirschfeld Theatre feeling they haven’t gotten a big, glitzy, sexy bang for their buck.”  Clearly, I’m not the only one who was entranced by this spectacle.  

            If you’re interested in more, the cast recording was released this past September and the run has already been extended to remain on Broadway until July 2020.  The only question left to ask is: How many Tonys will this new musical claim in the upcoming award season? 

Written by Melissa Paglialunga