Following the news that the Broadway musical will be heading to the West End in 2021, Emma Clarendon took a listen to the Broadway cast recording.
Dazzling and spectacular from start to finish, this electrifying cast recording gives a real sense of the theatricality of the story through the use of even more contemporary songs than even Baz Luhrmann’s original film managed to fit in.
From the rousing and rowdy ‘Welcome to the Moulin Rouge’, performed with great purpose and intent by the cast all the way through to the wonderfully stripped back renditions of ‘Come What May’ and ‘Your Song’ there is certainly plenty to admire and thrill in the way in which the songs have been arranged.
In particular, the addition of snippets of Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ and Shirley Bassey’s ‘Diamonds are Forever’ added to Satine’s ‘The Sparkling Diamond’ add an extra dynamic that takes into account the strength and independence of her character – even if in reality she is not so free.
Elsewhere, the update to songs such as ‘The Elephant Love Medley’ which was so memorably brought to life in the film also features more contemporary love songs that will please younger fans, blend seamlessly from one to the next with ease and style. Meanwhile, the reworking of Rhianna’s ‘Only Girl in the World’ to ‘Only Girl in a Material World’ – offers a interesting male interpretation of the song as performed with great charm by Tam Mutu as The Duke of Monroth.
However, there are moments when the inclusion of so many elements of different songs can make it feel slightly chaotic such as in ‘Truth Beauty Freedom Love’ – which can be overwhelming to listen to no matter how impressive the energy levels are. This in turn can make it feel slightly lacking in emotion and heart.
However, despite this the performances are of high quality – really delivering the passion and conviction to make the songs burst into life. In particular, Aaron Tveit as Christian delivers a deeply raw and emotional performance on during ‘El Tango De Roxanne’ that sends shivers down the spine, while Karen Olivo makes songs including ‘The Sparkling Diamond’ completely her own – offering confidence and drama throughout her performance. Elsewhere, Danny Burstein as Harold Zidler is wonderfully eccentric and over the top that works really well on ‘Welcome to the Moulin Rouge’.
Overall, every track on this cast recording is a sheer delight to listen to filled with plenty of drama, energy and passion from start to finish. Definitely one worth adding to the collection for any musical theatre fan.
By Emma Clarendon
Moulin Rouge! The Musical Broadway Cast Recording is available to buy now.