Girls Night Out in Boston: Moulin Rouge!

Let me take you back in time. The year is 2001. A boisterous and overly theatrical 11 year old just discovered the movie Moulin Rouge for the first time. She is convinced she is the next Julie Andrews. She memorizes every song lyric and proceeds to watch the movie every single day for the next year. Her parents can’t take any more of her sub-par singing and threaten to break the DVD in half (only half-jokingly).

This little girl is, or rather, was, me.

For the record, I am not a very good singer, but Moulin Rouge remains to be one of my favorite movies of all time. What I loved most about the film was that it took popular songs and put them inside a classic, ‘La Boheme’-style love story. So you can only imagine my excitement when I discovered they were transforming Baz Luhrmann’s award winning film into a pre-broadway musical. Plus it was the perfect excuse to grab a couple of girlfriends for a much needed girls night out.

We started the night at Abby Lane for cocktails and a light dinner. I’ll be honest, this restaurant does not have out-of-this-world food options, but they do have an awesome drink menu. My friends and I chose our drinks based on the names alone (examples: Shut the Front Door, Stank Face, and My Therapist Knows About You). Our waitress was super friendly and knew we had a show to catch so our food came out with plenty of time left for us to head over to the theater.

What happened once we got to the theater was truly magical. First off, the Emerson Colonial Theater was the perfect location for this production as it is smaller and more intimate than the Opera House. Choreographer Sonya Tayeh (“So You Think You Can Dance”) made me feel like I entered the world of the Moulin Rouge from the moment I stepped foot in the theater. Before the show even started cast members dressed in Victorian costumes milled about the stage drawing the audience into the atmosphere of the stunning cabaret set. The costumes were equally remarkable – colorful and fun, sexy and extravagant. And the set was jaw dropping. Bright red hearts and the infamous crimson windmill made you feel like you were actually in Paris in 1899.

The cast was amazing and really brought life and energy to their characters. Standout cast included Danny Burstein as Zidler, Sahr Ngaujah as Toulouse and, of course, Aaron Tveit as Christian.  I had seen Aaron on Grease! Live on TV, but his voice is even more impressive in person. They all did a great job of getting the audience to clap and sing  along. Speaking of which. One thing I appreciated was that the show was not a carbon copy of the movie. They kept most of the iconic songs from the film, and at the same time, were able to add new ones that fit in with the story line. “Roxanne” is one of my favorite numbers from the film and the play adaptation was incredible.

Overall, I would highly recommend the show to anyone looking for a spectacular night full of singing and dancing. I walked out of the theater on a complete high and continued to sing the entire Uber ride home.

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