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    With over a dozen musicals in his kitty, Michael Muthu talks about his adaptation of Hollywooda��s Moulin Rouge

    Actor-director Michael Muthu has, with a career spanning more than 20 years, become one of the most prominent faces of the citya��s theatre scene. To put it in his words, a�?Ita��s been a journey with its fair share of ups and downs, but ita��s been fun.a�? The next big thing for Muthu is an adaptation of Moulin Rouge, aptly titled The Dark Tale from the Moulin Rouge.
    Speaking about directing the piece, a first for him, Muthu says, a�?We arena��t doing any new takes. All wea��re doing is adapting Baz Luhrmanna��s movie for the stage.a�? In keeping with the grandness of the source material, the playa��s cast runs into the high numbers, with around 30 actors in all. a�?Our actors have all been part of the stage for a while. We have Gokul Anand playing Christian and Aishvarrya Suresh playing Satine,a�? says the founder of theatre group, Boardwalkers.

    Song and dance
    Behind the scenes, his usual collaborator (and wife) Aarti is busy at work designing the costumes. a�?We are sticking to the era, so all the costumes are of the perioda��like can-can dresses,a�? he explains. The set, too, will be extravagant. a�?Ita��s a split-level one with 14 locations, which will be spotlighted with lights depending on the action,a�? he shares, adding that the choreography will be done by Anusha Swamy and a�?will feature a lot of tango and can-can dancinga��all the things that make Moulin Rouge what it is.a�?
    With the storya��s stand-out music and the directora��s well-known love of musicals, expectations will be high from the live band that will be doing the music. a�?Ita��s being led by composer Donan Murray and wea��re going to be playing all the old favouritesa��from Your song to Just like a virgin. Since the originala��s soundtrack has more instruments than we can bring together, we have sequenced the complicated portions like the winds and strings,a�? he adds.

    Giving back
    Naming Driving Miss Daisy and Naseeruddin Shaha��s Mahatma vs Gandhi as among his favourite pieces of theatre, he admits, a�?I like Miss Daisy for its simplicity. When youa��re doing something like Moulin Rouge, you obviously need to think big. But if youa��re bound by budget constraints, then ita��s good to know how to make minimalism work.a�?
    Staging the play was the brainchild of the Rotary Club of Madras. Says Rotarian Sudha Shivkumar, a�?Our club is involved in a number of charitable causes. We decided to stage a musical with Michael as a fundraiser and to appeal to a younger audience.a�?
    February 28, at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Hall, from 7.15 pm. Buy tickets (from `400 onwards) at all outlets of Fabindia, Fruit Shop on Greams Road and at Chamiers. Details: 24311496

    Krishna Trilok


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