Halifax drag queen Anita P’s entrance to Moulin Rouge!—the 2001 opus directed by Baz Lurhmann—wasn’t under the neon-soaked main marquee, but rather a side door: Via the music video for ‘Lady Marmalade’ that saw Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Mýa and Lil' Kim delivering one of the most defining covers of the aughts. (The song—originally released by Patti Labelle’s proto-disco act Labelle in 1974—was covered mostly as a buzz-builder for the movie. But, it is intercut into the film’s opening sequences for a dose of emotional body glitter, dousing the viewer in the glam to come. Those intercut scenes? They’re still Anita P’s fave part of the flick.) “I think I was about 10; I knew from then I wanted to be one of those girls,” Anita P tells The Coast, speaking by phone.
If she had to pick which one from the famous music video, specifically, she’d embody? The queen doesn’t take a beat: “P!nk, because that’s my favourite colour—and because she’s a bad bitch.”
Now, Anita P has her chance: On March 4, a drag sing-along of Moulin Rouge! is being staged at The Light House Arts Centre. A fundraiser for the AIDS coalition of Nova Scotia, the event has the film projecting on big screens (“we want the audience to immerse themselves in the movie”, she says) with sing-along drag performances for the movie’s dozens of musical numbers. It’s a mix of film and live drag that Anita P says is new to the east coast—and that, along with the sheer size of the production, has her extra excited to take part.
The show is being directed by Rouge Fatale, a legendary diva in her own right that celebrated her 20-year anniversary of drag in August 2022. On deck alongside Anita P to deliver dance-packed renditions from the film’s notoriously hefty songbook? Four-time Best of Halifax Reader’s Choice award winner for Best Drag Artist Elle Noir, as well as buzzy local names including Deva Station, Rhett Slutler, Anna Mona-Pia, Asylum Jack, Bridget von Snaps, Sunny Daye and more.
“I think it’s gonna take the audience back to the time of the Moulin Rouge, and into the Moulin Rouge fantasy,” Anita P adds, saying the show’s cast has been prepping for the show since mid-January. When asked how she hopes the audience leaves the show feeling, her answer is as immediate as her choosing to play P!nk: She hopes they say “‘That was the best show I’ve ever been to in my life!’—and I’m pretty sure they’re gonna say that.”