Behind the Curtain of Moulin Rouge! The Musical with Sahr Ngaujah

August 25, 2021

We don’t know about you but we are counting down the days until all of the Broadway shows are open again and the curtains are lifted! Before the pandemic, our Founder, Kari Lincks Coomans visited New York City to see some of the best shows on Broadway, including Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which is currently nominated for 14 Tony Awards (just two shy of the record 16 that was received by Hamilton in 2016!).

“It is one of the best shows that I’ve seen on Broadway, hands down,” says Kari. “From the moment you step into the theater, to the moment the confetti falls, you are completely immersed in the world of Moulin Rouge. During the last scene of the show, I was just overwhelmed by the amount of talent and the incredible visuals that the set and overall production had to offer. When the performance ended I rushed to my feet cheering and thought to myself, “THIS, right here, this moment is Broadway…”

Scroll below to get the inside scoop on why this show should be on your upcoming Broadway bucket list and to WATCH our latest Behind the Curtain episode, featuring Tony-Nominated Sahr Ngaujah who plays Toulouse-Lautrec, a French artists and confidante of the main lead character, Christian.

Matthew Murphy © 2019 Global CreaturesThe first thing you see when you walk into the theater is the show’s eye-popping set! There is no curtain to cover it up, they leave it out all in the open for you to marvel at while you take your seat. There are even actors already on the stage walking around, interacting with each other, and looking out at audience members with a bit of a seductive gaze. You know immediately that you are no longer in New York City, you are at The Moulin Rouge of Paris.

The Moulin Rouge of Paris is a dazzling and spectacular universe, the symbol of the Parisian way of celebrating since 1889. Starting life as a popular cabaret and dance hall, the venue became an iconic music hall in the Roaring Twenties, and then a theatre where numerous famous French and international artists stepped out into the limelight.

As the music begins, Baz Luhrmann’s revolutionary film comes to life onstage, that has been remixed in a new musical mash-up extravaganza. A theatrical celebration of truth, beauty, freedom and — above all — love, Moulin Rouge! is more than a musical; it is a state of mind.

Kari started her tour in the middle of Times Square where she met up with Sahr Ngaujah (AKA: Toulouse-Lautrec) on his way to the theater to perform the musical for the eighth time that week (can you imagine??). The show made its Broadway premiere in 2019 but we found out from Sahr that the original development of this show took place over 10 years ago! Sahr started working on the script with the crew & staff over a year before it opened.

“I feel honored working with the team of people that are on and behind the scenes on this project. It’s exquisite work! The execution, the lights, the set design… it’s absolutely breathtaking.” – Sahr Ngaujah

Matthew Murphy © 2019 Global Creatures: Sahr Ngaujah as Toulouse-Lautrec, Aaron Tveit as Christian and Ricky Rojas as Santiago

Sahr is originally from Atlanta and spent most of his early career working in experimental theater in Amsterdam. He created the title role in FELA! earning him Obie and Theater World awards, as well as Tony, Olivier, and Grammy nominations. His role as Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rouge has been one of his favorite roles to date.

One of the differences between the movie and the show is that Lautrec was written as a much more prominent character in the musical so lucky for us, audiences get to see and hear Sahr perform a lot throughout the show! And fun fact, the character of Toulouse-Lautrec is one of two characters that are actually based on real-life people. The other is Harold Zedler who was the owner of Moulin.

“I don’t think of myself as an actor as much as I think about myself as a storyteller…” says Sahr. “One of my favorite parts of the show is a section that we call “Crazy Rolling in the Deep” where Christian gets his heart properly shattered by Satine. When that happens, Christian (played by Aaron Tveit) starts singing, ‘I remember, I remember when I lost my mind…’ It still gives me goosebumps!”

When asking Sahr his ‘Three Top Reasons to see Moulin Rouge! The Musical’, he responded telling us more about this love for the crew and staff that bring their “one-hundred percent” to every show, the set and the craftsmanship that’s seen with every detail and that “if you’re in the mood for a great love story, you should come and see it!” We could not agree more, and neither can the Tony’s (hence all the amazing nominations!).

Click below to watch our exclusive interview and see clips from the dazzling show…!

Moulin Rouge! The Musical will be lifting its curtain again on September 24th, 2021 and it should absolutely, positively be on your Broadway Bucket list! To find out more about the other cast members and get more insight about the show, click here!

To watch more of our Behind the Curtain interviews with performers around the world and across genres, click HERE!

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