This incredible performance closes tomorrow, so let’s jump to the bottom line. On the usual 5-star rating system this is a solid 10. It is undeniably as good as any ballet you would see in NYC or London or elsewhere, so waste no time. The show is at the Cobb Energy Arts Center at I-75 and 285, and you can order tickets easily at AtlantaBallet.com
You know that the Moulin Rouge (red windmill) is a Paris landmark, right up there with la tour Eiffel. It’s been around for many a decade, featured in plays, films and stories galore. If you’ve been to Paris you have probably gone up to see the Basilica Sacré-Coeur, then strolled down rue Lepic past all the shops and galleries. Then at the bottom of the hill the Moulin Rouge was just to your right. If you haven’t done so, then put it on your bucket list.
The ballet was commissioned and premiered by the Winnipeg Ballet and we should thank them and salute them for doing so. Our ballet company under John McFall has grown so wonderfully under his direction, and this production is unique in several ways. The set by Andrew Beck works wonderfully from background to café to streets to theatre. The costumes, by Anne Armit & Shannon Lovelace, are terrific. In traditional ballets you don’t often see a danseur (male dancer) clad in full formal attire, nor the ladies doing the Can Can.
The days when the dancers started to twirl around and show off their bloomers were considered quite lewd; and that’s why Henri Toulouse-Lautrec got off on their shows. So Henri, danced by Heath Gill, serves as a central figure in this story. He sort of tutors Matthew (Jacob Bush / Ben Stone) and they wind up in a contest for Nathalie (Tara Lee / Alessa Rogers). They even get into a fight in Act II. There are dozens of performers. Some of them come on in 2 or more different roles.
There are live musicians on stage who are backed up by a wonderful sound track of more than 30 classic works, most of which you will recall, even if you don’t know the specific name of the opus. If you have kids who can’t stay up too late or who may be put off by somebody being shot in the final scene, they might enjoy The Sleeping Beauty which will play for an hour at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Certainly a beautiful Valentines Day gift to a possible future balletomane.