The Parisian Moulin Rouge cabaret has long been a place where music, theatrical magic and cancan have taken center stage. In the romantic City of Lights, this is one of the sites that has drawn people for more than a century.
Currently in Chicago, theater fans can celebrate this famous club while being engrossed in the first North American tour of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which runs through May 14 at the James M. Nederlander Theater on Randolph Street.
The musical, based on the 2001 20th Century Fox film, tells the story of composer Christian, who falls in love with Moulin Rouge club star Satine. The story is told through a variety of melodies made famous by artists over the decades. The piece features music from the film as well as other newly added tracks.
“Moulin Rouge! The Musical” is a true celebration of songwriting and features pop songs from artists like Elton John and David Bowie, Lady Gaga and Beyonce.
As Satine, Courtney Reed and Conor Ryan play Christian.
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“It’s absolutely beautiful,” actor/singer Reed said. “It’s the show par excellence.” Reed said no expense was spared in achieving the theatrical magic that audiences will see, providing a wonderful experience from “start to finish.”
Ryan said it was an honor to be on stage again since the pandemic began and to work on such an iconic production as “Moulin Rouge!”
“It’s a dream come true,” Ryan said. “I’ve always been a big fan of the movie. I saw it at the cinema with my older brother.”
Ryan said the movie “Moulin Rouge” was on his top 5 list. “The soundtrack is wonderful,” he said. “And it’s a huge thrill to play this role. It’s such an incredible opportunity to be able to sing these songs.”
Reed added, “I’ve been in love with the movie since it came out.” She said she always wondered when a theatrical version of the film would be made.
Ryan originally auditioned for the show in early 2020 just before the pandemic really took hold. Reed, originally from Elgin, auditioned in 2019.
“I was living in Los Angles when I auditioned for the role,” Reed said. For Reed, it’s wonderful to see that live theater is back.
Ryan, who has never had the opportunity to perform in Chicago, said he was a big fan of the city as a visitor.
“Now I will have a real opportunity to explore the city,” he said.
Ryan, who grew up in California and also lived in Colorado, went to school at the University of Michigan.
He said that as a child, his single mother enrolled him in various performing arts classes and camps where he could express himself.
“I was a kid with lots of energy and an appetite for attention,” he said with a laugh.
Reed, who originated the role of Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin,” said she loved the performing arts as a child.
“For my first show, I played a mouse in ‘Cinderella’ when I was 6,” she said. Reed then did community theater while living in Elgin. She credits her sister and her parents for involving her in children’s theater.
Ryan said there was really something special about “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”.
At its core, underneath the whole show, the gorgeous lights, the costumes, the choreography, and the sets, it’s a classic love story. “I’m a sucker for romance. I’m definitely a romantic,” Ryan said.
He added, during these times, “the world needs as much love as possible”.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” continues through May 14 at the James M. Nederlander Theater, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets start at $52.50 with a number of premium tickets available. A digital lottery for a limited number of seats at $25 will take place for all performances. Visit BroadwayInChicago.com.
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