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Moulin Rouge comes to the Tanger Center

By Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / April 19, 2024

The cast of the North American Tour of Moulin Rouge.

Nick Rashad Burroughs is spreading truth, beauty, freedom, and love around the country as Toulouse-Lautrec on the National Tour of Moulin Rouge! The Musical.
“That’s the core message of the show – my character specifically. I hope that people leave the show feeling a sense of escapism and allow the spectacle of the love story to touch their hearts,” said Burroughs.

Nick Rashad Burroughs as Toulouse-Lautrec in the North American cast of Moulin Rouge.

Hitting the Steven Tanger Performing Arts Center from April 16 – April 28, Moulin Rouge! The Musical has thrilled audiences from across the country with its jaw-dropping sets, dazzling costumes, intricate choreography, and epic performances from an extraordinary cast. Featuring more than 70 top hits of the last century, this musical, based on the iconic Baz Luhrmann movie, sweeps you away to Paris and opens the doors of the hedonistic world of the Moulin Rouge.

The year is 1900, and the story follows Christian, a young poet and talented writer, who has come to Paris to pursue a career and become a member of the Bohemian movement. Christian ends up falling hopelessly in love with Satine, the star of the famous Moulin Rouge. However, Satine has already been promised to the unscrupulous Duke. A love triangle ensues. As Christian and Satine try to stay together against all odds, they are led down a dark and dangerous path, but Satine is holding a terrible secret of her own.

Burroughs plays the character Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, a renown French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, caricaturist, and illustrator whose artwork showcased the colorful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century.

Burroughs has also been seen in the productions of Kinky Boots, King Kong and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and on the National Tour of the hit, Something Rotten, becoming the first African American man to play Shakespeare in a Broadway production. He also recorded the single Ordinary Day on Todrick Halls #1 pop album Forbidden. Burroughs received a Broadway World Award for his portrayal of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and appeared as James Brown in James Brown Live at the Apollo Music Café.

“Moulin Rouge is based on the club that everyone went to during that time. Toulouse-Lautrec is a famous artist that made all the decorations of the famous Moulin Rouge. In this story, there’s a new twist to the interpretation,” said Burroughs. “It’s actually a love story that just happens to begin in a nightclub.”

Aside from the catchy songs and high-energy dancing, Burroughs noted that the costumes and set design work to bring the audience into 19th-century Paris.

“When you think of Moulin rouge, you think of these amazing burlesque dancers with fans and feathers and glamorous chandeliers. It all blends into a big, beautiful spectacle,” he said.

The Birmingham, Alabama native shared that his early inspirations include well-known stars of stage and screen Billy Porter, Ben Vereen, Denzel Washington, and Eddie Murphy.

“Those were the people that looked like me and showed me that I could do so much more than I ever thought was possible,” he said.

The first stage production he remembers experiencing was Ain’t Misbehavin’, and was the first time he saw Black performers in a theater production and was immediately inspired.

Burroughs added, “I think the same way that I walked into a theater not knowing that I was going to walk out with my life and career trajectory completely changed, I know that I have to give it my all every time that I step on that stage. You never know what kid is coming in there and is going to see that representation on stage and maybe give them a chance to see what they are capable of as well. I hope that I can inspire someone that way too.”


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