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The City Journals

"Moulin Rouge! The Musical" is a smoldering delight filled with dazzling songs and performances

Dec 03, 2022 10:43AM ● By Peri Kinder

Even before the curtain rises for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City, you know this musical will be a different experience. The stage is a stunning display of pinks and reds with characters moving seductively, slowly and quietly across the set. Red spotlights pan the audience, making you feel like you’re part of the scene - and then the fun begins.

Inspired by the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film, and directed by Alex Timbers, this wicked and spicy adaption takes you into a world of glamor, romance and excess, with show-stopping musical numbers and heartbreaking melodies. 

When Santine (Courtney Reed) takes the stage, her brilliant introduction as the star of the club is a mash-up of “Diamonds Are Forever,” “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Material Girl” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” channeling Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and Beyonce all in one stunning performance. When she’s not “on,” Santine is mourning her lost youth and dying from consumption, like you do in the 1800s. 

The naive Christian (Conor Ryan) is a new arrival to Paris, straight from Lima, Ohio, who falls desperately in love with Santine, even though she’s been (basically) sold to the menacing and possessive Duke of Monroth (David Harris). The Duke sings “Sympathy for the Devil” when he meets Santine for the first time. It’s a perfect moment. 

The Tony Award-winning choreography and costumes create a feeling of wild parties, lowered inhibitions and the possibility of fantasies fulfilled. More than 60 songs are teased, mashed up and sprinkled throughout the show, with many audience members singing along to their favorites.

Along with the film’s memorable songs like “Lady Marmalade,” “Your Song” and “Come What May,” the musical introduces new songs to bring the show up-to-date with fantastic renditions of “Bad Romance” and “Chandelier” and a heart-wrenching mash-up of  “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.”

Other stellar performances include the club owner and leering rascal, Harold Zidler (Austin Durrant), Toulouse-Lautrec (Andre Ward) and Santiago (Gabe Martinez) who play the revolutionary artists who take Christian under their wing, and Nini (Libby Lloyd), an incredible performer who is Santine’s friend.

The scenes alternate between the shimmering club with its pinks and reds and hearts that look like an ode to Valentine’s Day, and the grimy, poverty-stricken areas frequented by Christian and his friends. The visuals highlight the illusion of performance versus the realities of life. 

With an innovative use of its Tony Award-winning lighting and set design, the show transitions seamlessly between songs and scenes, leaving the audience breathless with delight. 

“Moulin Rouge!” won 10 Tony Awards in 2021, including Best Musical, Best Director and Best Actor. It’s a seductive, sensual and raw production that will quickly become a fan favorite. 

It runs through Sunday, Dec. 11 at Eccles Theater. Tickets are available at Saltlakecity.broadway.com, at the Eccles Box Office or by calling ArtTix at 801.355.ARTS (2787).