What Makes Moulin Rouge So Popular?

In the ever-evolving landscape of theater, some productions transcend the boundaries of time and continue to captivate audiences across generations. Moulin Rouge is the perfect example of this. Based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie, Moulin Rouge, and written by playwright John Logan, this dazzling musical holds a special place in the hearts of theatergoers across the globe. The movie made more than $170 million at the box office, was nominated for eight Academy Awards (and won two) and popularized the jukebox musical for years to come. But what exactly makes the Broadway production so popular? Let’s take a closer look at its awards and the enchanting world of Moulin Rouge…

A Celebration of Bohemian Spirit

Director Alex Timbers’ production captures Luhrman’s sense of freedom to a T. The show follows the aspiring composer Christian, the captivating dancer Satine, and the doomed love they cannot deny — all set against Bohemian Paris. While the set captures the essence of Montmartre, a hub of artistic innovation and cultural revolution in the late 19th century, the characters embrace their quirks and desires, while challenging societal norms and expectations. 

Show-Stopping Performances

The cast of Broadway’s Moulin Rouge delivers show-stopping performances night after night. Headliners Casey Cott (the beloved Riverdale star) who plays the lovestruck aspiring composer Christian and Courtney Reed (the Grammy nominee for Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin) who plays the captivating dancer Satine, bring their characters to life with unmatched talent and chemistry. Meanwhile, theatergoers are welcomed with seductive dancers strutting their stuff in burlesque.

moulin rouge al hirschfeld theatre

A Feast for the Senses

Moulin Rouge doesn’t just tell a story; it transports audiences to a world of glitz and glamor. From the moment the curtains rise, the stage explodes with color, glitter, and award-winning costumes. Designed by Catherine Zuber, they are a whirl of ruffled skirts, feathers, sequins, and glittering fabrics. As Johnny Oleksinski expertly writes in the New York Post: “The high begins the instant you walk into the theater.”

The set design is a visual masterpiece of 19th-century Paris, with the iconic red windmill of the Moulin Rouge as its centerpiece. Derek McLane’s attention to detail is so perfect that he received a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award Honor, and a Tony Award for his stage musical’s eye-popping visuals. 

A Musical for the Ages

At its core, Moulin Rouge! is a jukebox musical for the ages. The production’s soundtrack is a dazzling blend of timeless classics and pop hits, all seamlessly woven into the narrative. There are a staggering 70 songs all the family know and love in the show. Modern tracks like Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” sit nicely alongside classics such as Elton John’s “Your Song.” The New Yorker said “‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ Offers a Party, and a Playlist, for the Ages.”

Spectacular Choreography

The production’s dance sequences are nothing short of spectacular. Choreographer Sonya Tayeh, along with a talented ensemble cast, delivers mesmerizing dance performances that are both visually stunning and emotionally charged. Sonya Tayeh received a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award Honor, and a Tony Award for her work on Moulin Rouge, and we’re not surprised with the famous “Roxanne” tango!

“Dance can hold the narrative on its own,” Tayeh said. “The body can tell so many vivid stories, so to watch that dance break in Roxanne … is monumental. It makes my heart sing, because that is my belief system.”

Awards & Achievements

Just like when the curtains opened for Broadway’s Moulin Rouge in 2019, theatergoers still can’t get enough of the show-stopping performances, eye-popping set design, iconic soundtrack, and award-winning choreography. As per Playbill’s reports, Moulin Rouge raked in an impressive $2.2 million in revenue for the week ending 13th October 2019.  In fact, on the 3rd May 2022, it was documented that Moulin Rouge secured its place as the fifth highest-grossing Broadway production, amassing a staggering $1.4 million in box office earnings for that week. Fast forward to 11th September 2022, and this Broadway sensation had amassed an impressive $135.5 million in total earnings, with as many as 371,285 attendees and 260 performances. 

For its 2018 Boston run, Moulin Rouge won seven awards at the 2019 IRNE Awards. Meanwhile, the original Broadway show received nominations for 32 awards, clinching an incredible 17 wins. These included a sweep of 10 Tony Awards, spanning categories such as Best Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, and Best Sound Design of a Musical. And that’s not all! This sensational musical was also honored in 11 categories at the 2020 Outer Critics Circle Awards.

moulin rouge musical