MIDWEST — A world of “splendor and romance, breathtaking excess, pomp, grandeur and glory” is coming to the Midwest in 2024.
“Moulin Rouge” continues its tour across the country and Midwest stops include the Ohio Theater in Columbus, Ohio (from January 2 to 14), Marcus Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee (March 14 to 26), Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin. (June 11 – 23) and Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin. (July 9-21).
The musical follows Satine, who works at the Moulin Rouge nightclub. She becomes the muse of Christian, a writer and composer, and he falls in love with her. Their love story must, however, remain secret since Satine is promised to the Duke of Monroth, who has promised to invest in the Moulin Rouge to save it financially.
Andrew Brewer, who plays the Duke of Monroth, has been part of the national tour since it began in January 2022.
We sat down for an interview with Brewer before the musical came to the Midwest.
Spectrum News 1: If you had to describe the “Moulin Rouge” to someone who knows nothing about it, what would you say to them?
Andrew Brasseur: I would say it's a love story set in Paris, in a nightclub where your deepest, darkest desires can come true. And (it's) an exploration of love, loss, joy and sadness and all through a lens of exaggerated, exhilarating energy and, at the same time, calm and deep love.
Spectrum News: How is the musical different from the film?
Brewer: I think there's kind of a stigma around musical films and that sort of thing – that it's a bit fluffy and it's not going to be really enjoyable. I think it's been a really good experience and the audience has a wonderful time, which makes it even more fun for us as performers.
The musical version is a little more detailed (compared to the film). It's expanded; some of the smaller characters in the film – some of the supporting characters – we spend a little more time with them. We have a little more information about who they are. They also receive songs.
…(There is also more) love triangle between Christian, Satine and the Duke.
Spectrum News: The show presents 70 songs from various artists reinvented for the stage. What's it like working on a jukebox musical?
Brewer: It's really fun (working on a jukebox musical with more well-known songs). It comes with a lot of stuff from the audience, which is good. There's a lot of memories attached (to some of these songs)
Even though we continue to portray the characters through the music, I think we manage to kind of meet the audience in the middle a little bit and understand what the audience brings to them as well as what we bring to them. It transforms those moments into something even more special and such a different experience than a traditional musical.
It's interesting to see how the songs are used throughout the show. Sometimes it's kind of flipping a song on its head and playing against the lyrics of it, or there are a few medleys throughout the show. (The show mixes) songs that we might never have been able to put together in a million years. It’s fun for the audience; it's fun for us to develop them, and we can still use them throughout the story. They always play into the emotions and dynamism of the show.
Spectrum News: What is your favorite part of the series?
Brewer: The beginning of Act II (this is my favorite part of the series). Throughout the show, a musical is proposed to be staged at the Moulin Rouge. At the top of Act II, we enter a rehearsal with one of the big dance numbers. The song is incredible – the mashups they use, the songs throughout this number. The dancing is incredible; the lighting is incredible. It’s truly an experience (and) one of the best introductions to Act II that I think I’ve ever seen in a musical.
Spectrum News: What do you hope audiences take away from “Moulin Rouge”?
Brewer: Honestly, I hope they can feel and take away the love that we have, that we talk about on the show, the memories that it might evoke. Perhaps a renewed sense of interpersonal relationships – between them – of pleasure, love and care.