Baz Luhrmann’s cult hit movie-musical Moulin Rouge is getting adapted for the stage, fifteen years later. When it comes to such a quintessential piece of 2001-era pop culture, it seems strange to consider adapting it now, but everybody who watched this movie as a teenager will now (in theory) be old enough to afford to see it again on Broadway, right? … Right? Okay, probably not, but I’m sure that’s what the producers are hoping.
Moulin Rouge does seem like a perfect fit for Broadway–or, at least, it definitely seemed that way back in 2001. Nowadays, at least one problem might be getting the rights to all of the various pop songs that get mashed up into its soundtrack, but the team doesn’t include a composer, so they must be using the original score. Mashable reports that writer John Logan and director and director Alex Timbers will be taking on the project. Luhrmann told Variety that he’s excited about the potential of the two, praising Timbers’ “creative spirit” and calling Logan “gifted.”
Much as I loved Moulin Rouge as a teenager, I’ve been thinking back on it while writing this story, and I’m just not sure it would hold up for adult-me. Wasn’t there some weird orientalism happening with the entire narrative of the show-within-a-show (which was inspired by Bollywood, apparently, but … still, that seems kinda weird, given the lack of Indian actors or writers involved in the movie)? And for a show that supposedly is about a courtesan, Moulin Rouge sure did seem to revolve around the way the men in Satine’s life felt about her choices, as opposed to giving her any agency … let alone a happy ending (doesn’t she die, instead of becoming a successful actress like she dreamed? Her dream gets sidelined in favor of learning how important it is to fall in love with the male lead, right?).
I’ll have to watch it again and check back with you all about it. I mean, the songs are still good, at least.
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