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December 14 – January 1
Much like the Oscar-winning 2001 film that made thousands of millennial hearts soar (mine included; remind me to tell you how important this movie is to my marriage), the stage version of Moulin Rouge! ain’t known for being subtle. It’s a raucous jukebox Best Musical winner set in and around the bohemian enclave of Paris’ Montmartre Quarter at the turn of the 20th century, centering on the explosive but doomed romance between poor composer Christian and showgirl/actress Satine, who works at the titular club.
Those hoping for an exact replica of the film may initially be disappointed, as the play can’t quite hit the insane tonal heights of filmmaker Baz Luhrmann’s original. But stage and screen are different beasts. They’ve rethought the extravaganza from the ground up, with tongue-in-cheek direction from Alex Timbers (Here Lies Love), sensational choreography from Sonya Tayeh (So You Think You Can Dance), and a new book by screenwriter and two-time Tony winner John Logan. Also updated are at least half of the songs, as Luhrmann’s film is officially 21 years old and it makes absolute sense to include the past couple decades of Top 40 pop hits.
Perhaps the show’s biggest sell is the spectacle itself, part and parcel for the production company behind this, Global Creatures, known for stadium shows such as Walking with Dinosaurs and How to Train Your Dragon and two Australian musical adaptations I would LOVE to see come to the United States (Strictly Ballroom and frickin’ Muriel’s Wedding).
If you want to double your Rouge this December, SIFF will host their annual sing-along screening of the original film on New Year’s Eve at the Uptown at 6 pm, still giving you plenty of time to move over to your party or bar of choice well before we ring in 2023.
📸: Courtesy Broadway at the Paramount