Entering the theatre, the excitement begins to build seeing the play's title spelled out in crimson neon flanked by the classic Moulin Rouge! windmill lit and rotating and a gigantic elephant. Even before the lights dim, players can be seen in the background.
From the moment the show begins until the final curtain, not only are we transported to 1890's Paris, the Baz Luhrmann film comes joyfully alive before us. The stage is ablaze with sound, lights and color while the musical unfolds with favorite contemporary music melding perfectly with the story.
This reviewer is one who loved the film version and, as too often happens, it's difficult to satisfactorily bring film to stage. There was no disappointment here even though the stage production does vary from the original nothing is lost and much is gained seeing Moulin Rouge! live.
It certainly helps that Austin Durant recreates his Broadway performance as the Master of Ceremonies/Ringmaster Harold Zidler with gleeful exuberance. Conor Ryan as Christian is a standout for his voice and depth of emotion expressed in his ill-fated romance with Satine. Courtney Reed's voice and allure are the perfect accompaniment as Satine and Christian carry on their duplicitous romance.
Andre Ward's Toulouse-Lautrec and David Harris as The Duke of Monroth are both standouts as is Christian's other sidekick Gabe Martinez as Santiago. His dance numbers with Libby Lloyd as Nini are steamy perfection.
As with any musical, it's the ensemble's dance routines and exuberance that holds everything together earning much applause from the audience. Director Alex Timbers and Choreographer Sonya Tayeh, recipient of a Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Awards for her work on Moulin Rouge! Head a team of outstanding production artists.
Thankfully, Moulin Rouge! will grace the Hollywood Pantages' stage until September 4
So, take a trip to Broadway. Broadway in Hollywood, that is.