Oh Yes, Aaron Tveit
I’ll be honest and say I’d never heard of Aaron Tveit before like 2 months ago. Seems like I missed a few posts here at TN, because we’re a little bit obsessed with him. His performance in this musical caused an emergency post before an audience even set foot in the theater! Well, after about 3.5 hours in a theater with him (yeah, I was up in the balcony while he was on stage but what’s the BD?!) I feel I know him like a lover. Ok, maybe that’s just a fantasy but I would love to be serenaded daily by those pipes.
He was an almost-perfect Christian. The almost is added because they made him from America (uhh Ohio…?!), and I was so far away that I couldn’t really see his face, but those are pretty minor details. He killed it. He’s arguably the main character of the show and I have no idea how he didn’t just collapse from exhaustion about an hour in. He was funny, cute, charming, and his voice will make you swoon. Oh, and did I mention the hair? A bohemian at his finest.
The rest of the cast was perfection. Aaron Tveit already got his paragraph, but Karen Olivo…girl can sing. She took Satine from an ingenue to a powerhouse. And on a lighter note, her hair was incredibly shiny. I must know what product she uses. Danny Burstein plays Harold Zidler and he was the perfect comic relief – over the top and outrageous. Toulouse-Lautrec was played by Sahr Ngaujah who did the opposite – he turned what, in the movie, was a caricature into a realistic portrayal of a multi-faceted man. Sure, he was funny, but he was also sad, sometimes will with ennui, and purely delightful.
And The Duke. This was a character that was pretty greatly changed…and I loved it. In the movie, he’s a rat-faced slimeball and in the musical, he’s transformed into an obnoxious cad. He’s powerful, dark, and perfectly terrible. This was one change I was here for. He had some great songs and his darkness amplified the consequences of this secret romance. Shoutout to Tam Mutu for embodying this great character.
And I swear there’s never been a harder working ensemble. From the high kicks to the lifts, there was some incredible movement in this show. And such great representation too. Curvy girls, men in short-shorts, and lots of different skin colors. They were all so fun to watch.
What Even is Set Design?!
I’m an interior designer, and I still don’t get how set design happens. The only correlation there is those careers both have “design” in the name. Anyway, the set design for this show was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more people scrambling to get pictures of an empty set. Then they brought out the burlesque dancers and the scrambling went up a notch.
The set had all the elements of the movie (and the real-life Moulin Rouge, but that’s less exciting) that fans love, but they were engineered so creatively that it was better than the movie. To bring a show to life on such a small stage is an incredible feat and these designers did so beautifully. I would like to live on that stage.
Sing Me a Song
I went to see this musical with the mindset that they better not mess up the songs from one of my favorite movies. Well, my tune changed (haha – see what I did there) about 10 minutes into the show. They took the spirit of the movie and amplified it for the stage.
The songs you know and love are there – Lady Marmalade, Your Song, The Elephant Love Medley, Come What May, El Tango de Roxanne – but there are SO MANY MORE! They worked in some of the best love songs of the last few decades and made them part of the story pretty seamlessly. I don’t want to give away everything, but some of my favorites were Royals, Chandelier, Bad Romance/Toxic/Tainted Love/Sweet Dreams, and Crazy/Rolling in the Deep. Yeah, there are even more than that. And it totally worked! I consider myself a purist when it comes to adaptations, but this was a change I was pleasantly surprised by. The show would’ve been very short and read more like a play with a couple songs than the full-fledged musical it became with all the new additions.
Oh, and it ended with a giant audience sing-along.
Friends and strangers keep texting and emailing me that the Moulin Rouge previews are busting out. I can’t wait to get back to the East Coast to see it. All our best and love to the whole cast and crew. Here is an exclusive of the sparkling diamond @Karenolivo as Satine. pic.twitter.com/0DrxcDqZoO
— Baz Luhrmann (@bazluhrmann) July 13, 2018
Even Baz Luhrmann approves.
This was the most fun I’ve ever had at the theater. I’ve never been part of an audience that was so excited to see something. It was raucous; there were cat-calls and screams, clapping, singing along, and dancing. Everyone was thrilled to see this thing they love brought to life in a new way. Yeah, there were some changes – the ending was a little rushed for me – but at its heart was the story we were all there to see. There was truth, beauty, freedom, and love. Vive la révolution!