What It Took to Orchestrate ‘Bad Romance’ for ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’
Since Broadway theaters went dark last March due to coronavirus precautions, fans of plays and musicals have been eager to experience their favorite shows and new works live onstage and in person. That still hasn’t become a reality — but many people are trying to keep the dream alive. Last year, Tony Award nominations were announced for the protracted season and some hoped there would be a virtual ceremony as well. That plan was also scrapped and voting for the 74th Annual Tony Awards will take place between March 1st and March 15th, 2021. The presentation of the 74th Annual Tony Awards — which were originally scheduled to take place in 2020 — will be in coordination with the re-opening of Broadway in Fall 2021, according to the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing.
In anticipation, the team behind Moulin Rouge! The Musical — which includes a whiplash-inducing 70 pop songs — has released a new video that shares some of the complexity of the “four distinctive styles and sensibilities” of the orchestration team. For those who saw the show before it was forced to go on hiatus, they’ll recall that the opening of Act 2 opens with the show’s strongest number: a mash-up that includes Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” and the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”
Here, co-orchestrators Justin Levine, Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, and Matt Stine are recorded remotely to share some of the nuance of what into adapting Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to the stage production. “I think what I want people to realize about the word orchestrator, which is a mysterious term for many,” Rosen explains. “If you think of the score of a musical as a very detailed line drawing, it’s the orchestrators job to illustrate, and color-in and fill in the details of this drawing.”