Imagine Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” but as a steamy Spanish tango.
Now imagine that’s been mashed up with Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” and vigorously performed by a group of hot-blooded bohemians in early 1900s Paris.
It’s an absurd combination that by no means should work, but winds up being the undeniable highlight of Broadway’s new “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” a wildly entertaining adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie that opened Thursday at New York’s Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
Like the film – which starred Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, and earned eight Oscar nominations, including best picture – the stage show follows the doomed love affair between Satine (Karen Olivio), a tuberculosis-stricken cabaret star, and Christian (Aaron Tveit), a wide-eyed Midwesterner who dreams of becoming a world-renowned songwriter (changed from a poet in the movie).
In an effort to save the cash-strapped Moulin Rouge, Satine is forced by impish emcee Harold Zidler (Danny Burstein) to seduce wealthy patron The Duke of Monroth (Tam Mutu), but in a case of mistaken identity, accidentally comes on to Christian instead. The two are instantly besotted and secretly start dating despite her commitment to the Duke, who threatens to shutter the storied Parisian nightclub if he can’t have Satine.