Interview with Moulin Rouge: The Musical’s Andrés Quintero
By Matt Bearden
The Fox Theater is becoming increasingly successful in attracting major headlining musicals to their stage – and next up is Baz Luhrmann’s revolutionary film coming to life on stage with Moulin Rouge! The Musical! David contributor Matt Bearden got a chance to talk to one of the cast members, Andrés Quintero, about the production and his role in it all.
What an honor to meet you, Andrés! Thank you for your time. I have some icebreakers for you before our deep dive.
It’s great meeting you, too, Matt! So, I am part of the original touring cast. We hit the road last year, so I’ve been part of this for a year plus. My first Broadway role was part of the ensemble in Bat Out of Hell, but my first musical role was Marius in Les Miserable in high school. I’ve been an artistic kid—my family fully supports the arts, which has really allowed me to become who I am today. The very first musical I ever saw was Titanic with my dad; he’s the one who introduced me to musicals! If you were to go to New York right now, go see Chicago with Jinx Monsoon. What she is doing is phenomenal, and it shows how the industry is moving forward to nonbinary casting roles. I’m passionate about Latin theater, getting to voice those stories. That’s where I truly feel the most influential. I did A Crossing by Zoe Zarnack in 2021 that really set that ground for me.
Babydoll is a new character in the Moulin Rouge stage production. Who are they? How does Andrés and Babydoll mesh?
Babydoll is the entity of sex. I’d call them she/they, but honestly they are whoever and whatever they want to be. Babydoll opens the show with two others, who were inspired by “Lady Marmalade.” They welcome you to this burlesque, sexy, banger-after-banger musical world. And with Babydoll opening the show, you are on a right from start to finish! I think this character really captures what the original 1890s Moulin Rouge in France. There were no inhibitions or rules, drinks and sex aplenty, and total freedom from the outside world. It was extremely carnival in that otherworldly sense, and the same goes for this production. The way I find myself meshing with this character is embracing who they are. They are the outmost femme form of myself. I’m in tights, make up, wig—I’m in drag, honey!—several shows a week. When I’m not performing, I wear sweaters and basketball shorts to help remove myself and recenter.
You must carry a lot of pressure by being such an extravagant character to open the show. How do you always keep that energy going? What if the crowd is too shocked?
I dig into it. Whatever has happened to me that day I bring to Babydoll. I crank up that dial and go. I get a read of the audience super quick. We were in California. The audience gave me nooch. They were stiff to this drag queen, essentially, which I found very odd! What do I do? I go even more over the top. I slut it up more. Cause that’s who Babydoll is. If you’re uncomfortable, she’s going to keep you there. If you’re having a great time, she’s going to take you further. It’s funny because those crowds that are too shocked are the ones who should be there. And of all places the show has really hit the crowd the most was Minneapolis. I couldn’t quite explain it, but it just raved! Salt Lake City, too! Guess it’s because people are coming to a circus and want to be entertained.
I’m buying whatever Babydoll is selling. What would they be doing today considering these anti-trans legislations?
One of Babydoll’s biggest queer missions is to promote to do whatever makes you feel good. Identify the way you want to identify. It’s one of my favorite aspects of playing this role: it’s your journey, so do what will make you the best person you are. They’d be out there performing as much as they can. You know, LGBTQ+ presence is bigger than it has ever been. It has reached the kids at home, the kids coming out of the closet. It’s never going to stop. Babydoll would keep at it. They would funnel all those resources from gigs to keep pushing visibility. They would be hitting the pavement, talking to people about queer and drag. Drag is freedom of speech. It’s an expressive art form. No one can block an art form. I mentioned Moulin Rouge is a circus. The only way to fight a circus is with another circus.
I’m beyond excited to see Babydoll and the amazing cast. My favorite number has always been “Tango de Roxanne.” What has been added to the musical from the movie?
Then you’re in for a treat. I’m not gonna give too much away. But this show is banger after banger after banger. It’s a party. The set pieces are massive, the music is cranked up, and the costumes are insane. Dress up—like wear something red! Go high queer if you feel comfortable. But there are more numbers just like “Tango” and “Elephant Medley” that will blow you away. Make sure to enjoy a nice champagne before coming if you know what I mean *wink*. And you’ll want to go out after.
Noted, noted, and noted! Last questions: If you could change characters, who would you pick? When you’re in town, what would you want to do?
Satine, duh. Babydoll is next in line to take over the Diamonds, so not much of a challenge since…well, y’know. I’m so excited for you to see this! I need you to take me to some great places when I come visit. I’ve never been to Atlanta, but I hear they have great strip clubs. I really would like to go to them—for research!
Get tickets to see Moulin Rouge: The Musical at the Fabulous Fox Theater April 19 through April 30th!