‘Moulin Rouge!’ The Musical Catapults a Hedonistic Fever Dream to Broward Center

By Alison Glass

Spectacular! Spectacular! Christian Douglas dazzles as his composer namesake in this heady stage production inspired by the final act of Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s Red Curtain trilogy. 

“Welcome, you gorgeous collection of reprobates and rascals, artistes and arrivistes, soubrettes and sodomites.” 

Beckons Master of Ceremonies Harold Zidler, brilliantly portrayed by Robert Petkoff in heavy grease paint, glittering eyes, and a carny leer. Gentlemen in top hats and phallic-shaped cigars mingle with Moulin Rouge dancers, curvaceous courtesans who operate from the cabaret, using the can-can as a seduction to entice patrons. 

This transactional element is showcased right from the start. Broward Center stays faithful to Derek McLane’s scenic design using his trippy valentine of a set — an LSD-like cornucopia of nesting pink hearts, prominently displayed when the audience arrives. Two women gyrate to the music, edging to stage left as they teasingly swallow swords while massaging each other’s thighs. 

Robert Petkoff as Harold Zidler and the cast of the North American tour of Moulin Rouge! The Musical

When Zidler’s Master of Ceremonies raises his cane, it majestically shoots confetti over the audience, reminiscent of King Author wrestling Excalibur from the stone. He promises the audience that he and his crew can provide service “no matter your sin, no matter your desire.” The jukebox musical explodes with recycled pop hits, seamlessly weaving familiar melodies into a tapestry of opulent gaslight-era drag.

From the moment she steps onto the stage, Gabrielle McClinton commands attention. She eschews the delicate ethereality of Nicole Kidman’s on-screen rendition, opting instead for a raw and unvarnished realism that embodies Satine as a resilient survivor. Despite the bareness of her costumes, she wears her sex appeal like a shield,  navigating the treacherous waters of the Moulin Rouge with a steely determination that belies her glamorous facade. Her excellent performance delves deep into the psyche of a woman who has endured hardship and exploitation.

John Logan’s new book for the show explores Satine’s history for the first time in Moulin Rouge!’s staged rendition, revealing her as a feral survivor of the streets who began turning tricks at thirteen. This portrayal gives a bold new realism to the show by highlighting the dancer’s resilience and survival instincts in the face of adversity. Satine, much like her partner in deception, Harold Zidler, views love as a commodity for profit, a means to an end in the unforgiving world of the Moulin Rouge.

Andrew Brewer as The Duke of Monroth, Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

Andrew Brewer’s portrayal of the Duke of Monroth adds another layer of complexity to the production. Unlike his one-dimensional counterpart in the film, played with high camp by Richard Roxburgh, Brewer’s Duke is depicted as a suave and handsome figure. The decision to replace the cringeworthy “Like a Virgin” from the 2001 film with the much more fitting “Sympathy for the Duke” an homage to the Rolling Stone’s classic along with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” adds depth to the character, challenging simplistic notions of morality.

But amidst the showy lights and artificial sleaze, we find purity. Christian Douglas’s performance as a young composer ignites a beacon of hope to an empathy-parched cabaret. His souring falsetto provides an antidote to the grit and greed of the Moulin Rouge. A standout performance is Douglas’s rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song”,  as Douglas breathes new life into the classic, infusing it with emotion and sincerity that resonates with the audience.

As Satine and Christian’s story unfolds, it becomes the beating heart of the production, a testament to the enduring power of love in the face of overwhelming odds. Their chemistry is palpable, their connection undeniable, and it is their love that ultimately triumphs over the forces that seek to tear them apart.

“Moulin Rouge! The Musical” at Broward Center is a riveting tapestry of love, survival, and temptation. With standout performances, intricate characterizations, and a dazzling production design, this production offers a compelling glimpse into the complexities of human nature and the resilience of our hearts. 

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Through March 17th at Broward Center For The Performing Arts; https://www.browardcenter.org/events/detail/moulin-rouge-2024. 

Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a grand and spectacular production; the musical contains some mature themes, revealing costumes and adult language. Recommended for ages 12+.


Writer: Alison Glass

Alison Glass is a writer, publicist, web + graphic designer, pro domme, and model currently residing in Brooklyn, NYC. Glass received her BA in Creative Writing from London South Bank University. Her essay, You May Call Me Goddess Lilith: How Working as a Pro Domme Healed
My Rape Trauma is forthcoming in The Holy Hour: An Anthology on Sex Work, Magic, and the Divine, which was profiled as a featured article in Hustler and launches this Spring. She regularly contributes to multiple NYC publications, with her theatre reviews published in Around Town Florida magazine. You can follow her adventures on Twitter at @aglasswriter or IG at @alisonwonderlandofficial. Apart from leading a double life, she enjoys reading, crowd surfing at Wacken, spontaneous trips to Europe, yoga, and running primal scream workshops at Burning
Man. You can catch her at a musical, concert, open mic, or eating sushi and watching 90’s supernatural movies and shows while cuddling her familiars, a Maltese dog named Sophia and
black kitten, Eclipse.


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