By Belén Pizarro
The North American Tour of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical
Moulin Rouge! The Musical is in Denver for a limited engagement at The Buell Theatre through June 26.
The spectacular production features a magnificent cast and production team. Recently, The Weekly Issue/El Semanario interviewed Andrés Quintero, a performer currently playing the iconic role of “Baby Doll” in Moulin Rouge! The Musical.
Throughout his career, Quintero has appeared in numerous roles in productions that include, Bat Out of Hell (The New York Theatre), Altar Boyz (national tour), Fandango for Butterflies (La Mama NYC), In The Heights (North Carolina Theater), and Rent (Gateway Playhouse). His talents in songwriting, singing and dancing lend to his exceptional performances.
Quintero’s credits in television and film appearances include “Law & Order: SVU”, and “Madam Secretary”, he was featured as co-star of “The Other Two” on Comedy Central, and “Odd Mom Out” on Bravo; and has starred in various films and commercials. His talents include songwriting, singing, salsa and merengue dancing. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Andres moved to Colorado with his family at 11, where he attended and graduated from Rangeview High School in Aurora. During the interview, Quintero shared his experience as an immigrant and a Latino within the sphere of theater.
El Semanario: Can you tell us about your background and your experience coming to the U.S. with your family, and your experience in Colorado?
Andrés Quintero: I am originally from Venezuela— Caracas, Venezuela. I moved to the states and Denver in 2001, and went to East Middle School first, and then I went to Rangeview High School in Aurora. So, my formative years, school years were in Colorado. It’s also where I started to do theater, and really my exposure at The Buell Theater, with the Rangeview theater department, specifically my theater teachers: Tammy Strauss and Pamela McGuire, that I decided to turn my love for theater into a career. So, then when I was 18, I moved to New York and went to school, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
How did your family react to you going into theater initially?
I never had any hesitation from any member of my family to not follow what made me happy. I moved to the states when I was 12, and then I moved to New York when I was 18. Those are two major changes in just 6 years of one’s life. I actually do theater because of my parents, growing up in Venezuela, everyday my dad would expose us to ballet, theater, symphonies. So, I think when I told them I really wanted to do this, they were like YES! My dream is their dream.
How do you think your background, being an immigrant and being Latino is brought into your performances?
In every single aspect possible. In every way possible, in the good and the bad, right. I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and you know being a Latin actor, a Brown actor wasn’t necessarily the easiest world for me to navigate when I started my career. Thankfully, it has been changing, maybe not as quickly as I think it should. Even though I am a part of a company that very much encourages and appreciates diversity. But everything I do is impacted by the immigration story that is my life. I’m proud of who I am and I’m proud of where I’m from. The first thing you’ll read when you sit down at the Buell Theater when you open the play bill is that I am from Caracas, Venezuela. Everything that I do is outlined by me being an immigrant in this country.
Do you see opportunities for more Latino visibility through theater and large productions like Moulin Rouge! The Musical?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean yes and I can tell you that wasn’t the case 5 years ago. Honestly, Lin Manuel Miranda has been, specifically in theater, a big catalyst of the conversation starters around why don’t we have as many Latin people on stage. That conversation probably started around 2017, and then with the pandemic and the pause in theater it was accelerated. So yes, absolutely, there has been a massive change in the opportunities there are for Latin actors.
What are your thoughts about the future of Latino roles in media?
I think we were at a place where we are seeing changes and we are hearing from the people who really run the show, producers, writers, executives, understanding the power of diversity. And I think the conversation is changing, because for the longest time it’s been people want to see what we’ve been seeing for forever, but now they’re seeing that audiences are changing, and audiences have money, and they want to spend money on seeing people that look like them.
“Everything that I do is outlined by me being an immigrant in this country.”
We have a great playing field right now. But what I would like to see is for the Latin community to work together and request for more opportunities. I’m at a place right now where I look at the cast and the creative team, and I ask what’s happening back here and who’s being benefited from what we’re doing. Not just telling the story, but who is reaping the benefits of this production. If we do that as a community, together, not just the Latin community, but the Asian community, the Black community— any minority— we will see more opportunities, more diversity, and more equality both onstage and offstage, which is what we want.
Can you tell us about your role as “Baby Doll” in the production and how you landed the part?
My role is a part of the iconic Lady M’s. So, if you’re familiar with the show, and you know the song “Lady Marmalade”, if you’ve ever been in a Karaoke bar at midnight you’ve heard it. I am part of one of the iconic girls who perform at the Moulin Rouge. I landed the role back in February of 2020. After an extensive month of auditions and back then I was preparing to start the show in November of 2020. But then this thing called COVID happened, and I did not start the show until January 2022. So, it’s been close to 2 years after I booked the role that I have that production started.
Throughout your career what would you say you are most proud of?
I am most proud of the work I have been doing in the last couple of years, because of everything that’s been happening in the theater in regards to diversity. I am proud of the show because of the ideals of the show: truth, beauty, love, and freedom. I’m also proud of a couple other projects I’ve been working on right before the show, and last summer. They are stories about undocumented immigrants, they’re stories told by Latin people, written by Latin people, produced by Latin people, stories that I’m hoping to tell in the future. I think the trajectory that I’ve had, and the moment we’re in right now, the kind of work I’ve been doing in the last couple years is the kind of work I want to do.
Tickets for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” are now on sale at Denvercenter.org.
Belén Pizarro is an Intern Reporter with The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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