5Q: Moulin Rouge
“5Q” is an online-only column featuring five questions about stage productions in the Metro Area. Periodically, “5Q” will take the form of an interview with actors, directors, writers, etc. to shed some light on the production process.
Fans of Baz Luhrmann’s movie musical are in for a treat as Broadway’s Moulin Rouge! The Musical takes the stage at the Orpheum Theatre. A celebration of truth, beauty, freedom, and—above all—love, Moulin Rouge is a delight for the senses: a visual spectacle and familiar contemporary music revamped for the Moulin Rouge nightclub and cabaret. The ten-time Tony winner is a tale as old as time: the artist falls in love with a beautiful woman that he can’t have, only to tragically lose her in the end.
Andrés Quintero takes on the roll of Baby Doll, one of the four notorious Lady M’s who sing the iconic “Lady Marmalade” and hold the nightclub together. As a Lady M, Baby Doll plays backup for the cabaret’s star, Satine, but we also see a special bond between the drag performer and the heroine. When the Moulin Rouge is in danger of shutting down, Baby Doll takes it especially hard as the future of a queer performer in that time period was certainly dangerous. Quintero brings the grit and soul to the role, but what is it like to go from street to stage with a touring production? We asked, Quintero answered (and snapped a few pictures!).
What is one thing that you do in every city that you visit while on tour? What was on your list of things to see or do while in Minneapolis, and what have you been able to check off the list already?
I’ve been really into checking the food scene in all the cities we’ve been to. Here in Minneapolis, I’ve been going to the Global Market. I’m from Venezuela and they have a great Venezuelan restaurant that I’ve been going to a lot. Lastly, I couldn’t leave Minneapolis without going to the Mall of America. I spent a whole day there and had a blast!
This show is a very high-energy, physically demanding show. What do you do in your off time to prepare for that kind of performance? How do you sustain your energy?
I work out every day before the show. I try to either lift or do cardio to warm up my body and voice so that I’m in top shape when the curtain goes up.
The story seems more relevant now than ever–we have a woman working for herself and supporting her chosen family, going through a tough health situation and wanting to tell the people around her that she loves them before it’s too late. How do you weigh the themes of the show with the heaviness of the real world once you step off stage? How do you decompress?
One of my favorite things our creative team has done with this version of Moulin Rouge is how they’ve expanded Satine’s story. My character has a strong connection with Satine and it’s so important for audiences to see this strong female character. After the show there’s nothing my couch, my favorite TV shows and a stiff dirty vodka martini can’t fix.
This story is about the Bohemian ideals of truth, beauty, freedom, and love that are often cited throughout the musical. Do you relate to those values? How do you see these characteristics creeping into your offstage life?
I live my life by the ideals of the show. I knew from a very early age I wanted to be an artist and I’ve had the pleasure of turning my love for the arts into a job since then. I think now, more than ever, our world needs the show’s ideals and it’s a gift that I get to be a part of that every night.
What do you love about portraying Baby Doll and being a member of this ensemble? Have you learned anything from this role?
I love Baby Doll. I’ve had to learn so many skills to portray this character. I love how the LGBTQ+ community connects with Baby Doll’s story. I love reading the messages people send me after the show expressing how much they love the inclusion of queer characters in the show.
Moulin Rouge runs at the Orpheum Theatre through June 5. For more information and to purchase tickets, head to www.hennepintheatretrust.org. For more information about Hennepin Theatre Trust’s vaccination policy and safety protocol, visit www.hennepintheatretrust.org/scheduling-safety-update.