‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ at WAC all you loved about movie and more

‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ at WAC all you loved about movie and more

It will take 11 trucks to bring “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” to the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville.

The Baum Walker stage will transform into 1899 Paris for a “bohemian revolution” of “truth, beauty, freedom and above all – love!” opening Feb. 9. Courtney Reed, who plays Satine in the show, says it’s “an absolute spectacle” that she guarantees will be loved by all.

“It just has every element of a Broadway show that you could possibly want.”

Reed has been involved in theater since age 6. She is best known for originating the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s “Aladdin,” for which she received a Grammy nomination. She made her Broadway debut in “Mamma Mia!” and played Carla in “In the Heights.”

“What I think is really fun about Satine is that she’s super glamorous. She gets to wear all these spectacular costumes,” Reed says. “It feels similar to when I’m the star of a show, and I go into the stage door, and people admire you. And that’s all really fun.” The 38-year-old has also had TV spots on “Liza on Demand,” “Search Party,” “The Affair,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “White Collar,” “NYV 22” and “CSI: NY.”

But unlike her character, an actress and courtesan who is “very closed off,” Reed says she is a romantic.

“I’m very open-hearted, and I fall quickly in love,” she says. However, once Satine meets Christian, Reed says she feels more of herself in the role, especially when performing “Come What May,” “when she really gets to just be in love with him instead of having to fight the urge to be in love. She doesn’t know these feelings, so it’s really fun to actually discover [myself] a little bit in light of what Satine brings out in me.”

Even after a year of playing Satine, Reed says that the material stays fresh because of the cast.

“You discover new things all the time,” Reed says. “I think it’s interesting when understudies go on; you discover new things because of the way that they interpret the character. You think that once it’s all set you’re sort of set in your shell, but I’m discovering new things all the time.”

Even with the other leading actor, Conor Ryan who plays Christian, there can be those subtle shifts that make live theater so special.

“If he switches up his feelings or how he’s going to deliver his lines, it will definitely change how I will then respond, which is really cool,” Reed says. “Certain actors tend to stick with what they know. They’re very consistent, no matter who’s onstage. With my costar and myself, things morph and change. I think it’s kind of cool because it stays very much alive.”

Although their interpretation of the material remains fluid, Reed is at home in the Moulin Rouge when the red curtains rise.

“I feel like I’ve gotten so much more comfortable with the show, all of the technical aspects, which are tough to nail down within the first several weeks or months,” she says. “I feel like I’ve really settled into that. And my stamina has really gotten much stronger with the show, so I’m able to discover new things with her — especially with some of the comedy bits. It’s a lot of trial and error to see when the audience laughs.”

For fans of the movie, this adaptation keeps the heart of the story.

“I’m a massive fan of the movie,” Reed enthuses. “I remember everything from the movie. In fact, I’ve seen it recently. A lot of it is similar, and then there’s a lot of changes.”

Still front and center of this Baz Luhrmann story are the star-crossed lovers. “Moulin Rouge” followed his box office smash “Romeo + Juliet” — two tales alike in doomed romance. The musical now includes Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” along with the classics like “Lady Marmalade,” “Come What May” and “Your Song” from the film.

“I think people refer to the show as a jukebox musical, which I don’t think it is,” Reed says, adding that the music is so “seamlessly” woven into the plot that the “characters feel like they’re telling the story through the music. I think it’s a really, really hard thing to do. And the show has done it so successfully.”


‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’

WHAT — A celebration of truth, beauty, freedom and above all – love. The 2001 Baz Luhrman film comes to the stage with a remixed musical mashup of songs from “from Offenbach to Lady Gaga.”

WHEN — 1:30 & 7 p.m. Feb. 9; 8 p.m. Feb. 10; 2 & 8 p.m. Feb. 11; 2 p.m. Feb. 12; 7 p.m. Feb. 14 & Feb. 15; 1:30 & 7 p.m. Feb. 16; 8 p.m. Feb. 17; 2 & 8 p.m. Feb. 18; 2 p.m. Feb. 19

WHERE — Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson St.

COST — Tickets start at $51

INFO — 443-5600 or waltonartscenter.org

BONUS — The “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” VIP experience is also available for $45 a person with heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and an open bar preshow and at intermission.

Categories: Cover Story