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Director Alex Timbers and choreographer Sonya Tayeh

bring a visually spellbinding sexy Paris to the stage.

Review by Vince Mediaa

The red carpet at the Moulin Rouge Paris Cafe is now lined with gold ropes as the Orpheum has been transformed into Baz Lurmann’s vision Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Directed by Alex Timbers, with a book by Tony honored John Logan. The lavish musical is now on stage at the Orpheum Theatre at BroadwaySF through November 6th. The splendor, glamor and musical blast is at a 100% and perfect for Bay Area audiences to welcome in the fall theater season. The Bohemian lifestyle of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love is the best celebration to experience live. I will never look at a stage musical the same after the dizzy wonderful experience.

This production won a slew of Tonys including Best Musical, Best Costume Design, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design, and others. The production is dazzling, opulent, breathtaking very jazz hands and every other adjective critics have used to describe this event. The megamix charm of Moulin Rouge! The Musical is vivacious. Host Zidler poke’s his head through the curtain, you get that “the wizard” welcomes you - but it is a wonderfully wicked man “Hello, chickens! Yes, it’s me. Your own beloved Harold Zidler. Welcome, you gorgeous collection of bohemians and aristocrats, boulevardiers and mademoiselles welcome to the MOULIN ROUGE!” At this point the celebration of love and heart is non stop.

The celebration kicks off with "Lady Marmalade," the theme that brings the vibe of freedom, and love. Bring a hanky to wipe the glitter off your face. Set in a nightclub in 1899 Paris, and based on the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name, the Moulin Rouge! The Musical is billed as a place where “all your dreams will come true”. Everyone is stunning, lavishly adorned, and sexy. The award honored Sonya Tayeh’s sexual and jazzy choreography defies the laws of gravity with the amazing Elephant overlooking your soul. (I have not seen since Phantom).

The thin story includes the Duke (David Harris), the thrilling Satine (Courtney Reed) mistakes the handsome Christian (Conor Ryan) for the potential rich lover and finds herself falling for the sweet songwriter. When Harold brings in the real Duke, it's too late; she's in love with the penniless Christian who wants to write songs for her. The two fall into a secret affair. Toulouse-Lautrec (André Ward), who is writing a new show for his friend and former love. Duke realizes Satine may not have given her heart to him. The handsome Duke seeks revenge, while Satine has a fatal secret she must choose between a life of love or one of wealth. Moulin Rouge owner Harold Zidler played by the showstopping Austin Durant has financial setbacks that have the club and players in jeopardy.

The only original song is “Come What May” featured in the film and this stage musical. The busy score features samples of over 65 iconic pop songs of the last 5 decades. LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade”, Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”, Walk The Moon’s “Shut Up And Dance”, Katy Perry’s “Firework”, Sia’s “Chandelier”, Pink’s “Raise Your Glass”, Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, Gnarls Barley’s “Crazy” and “Roxanne” by Sting and the Police. This is just a few - This is a mega mix for the tick tok generation. The karaoke feel comes into play but soon disappears as you can not sit still in your seat. The karaoke criticism is valid, this is a high end jukebox that many critics dislike - but the ticket paying fans love.

Conor Ryan as the young hero song writer has a flawless voice and wow’s the show with his love song mix. The Duke and villain of the story played by David Harris is handsome and evil, alongside Pierre played by the campy flirty Sharrod Williams. The impressive Andre Ward as Toulouse-Lautrec brings so much character to the classic iconic artist. The spellbinding Courtney Reed has a gifted voice who matches the charm of Ryan in all their duets.

Music supervisor the accomplished Justin Levine has arranged this tapestry of arrangements seamlessly. Also in the mix: Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Fatboy Slim, The Human League, Elton John, Talking Heads, Lorde, Shirley Bassey, En Vogue, Rolling Stones, No Doubt, Eurythmics, Rhianna and Nat King Cole. Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X. Boomers and even our grandparents' Post War silver hair community will recognize this 50 years of music that frames this jukebox musical.

Broadway set 2019

The thrilling set design by Derek McLane, which includes a windmill on one side of the stage and an elephant on the other. I was told at the press table it took 3 and half DAYS to load in this set - (average time for tour set is 2 hours). Justin Townsend designed the spot on lighting that becomes a character in the celebration that shines on the lower orchestra seats. This is more than a National tour, it is one reason why the café will be open through November 6th; this musical belongs in San Francisco.

For all the glitz and glamor, the pop connection that made film audiences rave about the film can now be blinded by the gowns, beads, heels and glam live on stage. Catherine Zuber’s colorful costuming, velvet gloves, Parisian couture, layered cancan skirts, is a rainbow explosion feast for the eyes. David Brian Brown’s wig and hair design is busy and a must for a cast of 36 that blends their pronouns.

Director Timbers does a phenomenal job adapting Luhrmann's vision to the stage. The cast breaks the fourth wall as playwright Logan found places to inject humor that the film lacked. The sold out opening night audience became customers at the Moulin Rouge. Dancing and stopping the show for instant standing ovations is common at the Rouge. Don’t expect to remain in your seat.

The Act 2 takes us backstage as Toulose and Christian create the show with in a show. The opening number of Act Two is a six minute "Backstage Romance": is a showstopper, a mosh of Gaga's "Bad Romance," Britney Spears' "Toxic," Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," and Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." At Wednesday's opening night, the audience was so into the medley that the theater burst into a standing ovation before the final note was played, and it lasted several minutes. I have never seen a second act opener that dazzled and brought me to tears as this full throttle dance and energy. I am still wondering if it was a dream I had?

In total, 180 artisans spent 36,019 hours to create the 793 costume pieces including 45 wigs, 12 handmade can-can skirts and corsets, 37 top hats and nine feather headpieces with custom-dyed plumes. They are all absolutely stunning including the men's formal wear and appropriate canes and shoes.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a glitter blast for the eyes and the ears. Blending a vast array of popular music, sensual and strapping choreography displayed by a most talented of troupes, and the most dazzling costuming seen on stage in decades. It is difficult to imagine any other show that proves this much pleasure for your entertainment ticket. Stay through the entire curtain call, as you are showered by a knockout encore as well as a storm of glitter and confetti that explodes from the café. This is a rambunctious celebration that will remind you of your first loved. Moulin Rouge! The Musical has left quite an impression on me, do not miss this show; even in the back row the Rouge will blind you with “Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love”.

Broadway SF and The National Theatre Presents

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Based 2001 film written and directed by Buzz Luhrmann

Directed by Alex Timbers,

Book by John Logan


Orpheum Theatre 1192 Market Street at Hyde Street

San Francisco, CA

The show runs 2 hours and 35 minutes and one intermission

Tickets; 888-746-1799,

Photo credit: Matthew Murphy for Murphymade.



A limited number of $40 Rush tickets will be available for every performance beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office. Tickets are subject to availability. Cash or credit. 2 per person. Rush tickets are void if resold.


Download the TodayTix app in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store to unlock the Rush ticketing feature by sharing a post on social through the app. Check back in the app at 9am for access to exclusive day-of $40 Rush tickets for every performance.


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