Who: Courtney Reed
What: Actor, who plays Satine in the upcoming engagement of Moulin Rouge! The Musical which will play at the Saenger Theater April 5 until April 16, 2023
Quoting the Quoted: “We all feel safe together, even if we don’t know each other, because we all, including the audience, build this experience together.”
KC: There are a lot of secrets and acts of mischief in Moulin Rouge! The Musical, so what is some mischief that happens between you and the crew or other actors on stage?
CR: There are so many inside secrets. How do I just choose one? I know; I think a lot of people don’t talk about how in theater or behind the scenes we as actors create a lot of what we call ‘bits.’ We will do these bits on stage with one another because when you face upstage, which is not towards the audience, the audience can’t see you. Therefore, if somebody else is speaking downstage and you are facing upstage, they are the only ones that can see you.
With my co-star there’s a song with almost everyone. We have the Duke, the Bohemians, Christian, and the song is so incredibly fun. La Trek has a line where he says it’s the ‘best rock on tour,’ but one time we heard it and it sounded like the ‘best rack on tour.” Therefore, when he is singing that part, I’m facing upstage, and I just…well, I just stick out that best rack on tour. [Laughing.] No one ever sees it but us, and my co-star still remembers that. There are always these moments of smiles that we share with each other that the audience doesn’t get to see. We are always trying to get the other one to break, so we have these bits where we try to get them to laugh.
It’s weird, though, because if we change cast members, which does happen, then those bits are no longer there. I was thinking about that because when one of my co-stars left I realized that there wasn’t choreography for those bits, and they’re not a moment that’s truly part of the play, so when that person leaves, they take those bits with them in a way.
KC: What do you feel like Satine knows that we don’t know?
There’s a sad part to Satine’s knowledge; when she was 13, she was turning tricks. She has a hard life, so she has put a wall up, so when she meets Christian, she doesn’t believe in love because she’s never had that. She’s been told that it doesn’t really exist. She can’t afford to love.
It’s different, though, because I think she does truly believe in love, but she’s had to do anything she could in order to get buy in her life. Therefore, she plays her role, and she doesn’t let it take her down. She’s strong in her own way, and she becomes the star. She’s the sparkling diamond that everyone comes to see, and that holds a lot of weight and responsibility.
She realizes that her life isn’t just her own because as the star of the show, she has to keep the place going; otherwise, all of the girls and Zedler lose everything. She has to give 1000% every show to keep that theater open or all that are in that family are back on the streets. She knows and feels that responsibility and she holds onto it. I think that’s what gets her through.
KC: Think of a person that you admire. Got it?
KC: Now imagine that Satine was going to seduce that person, not necessarily sexually but a seduction of life. What song do you think she would sing to achieve that goal?
Oh, gosh! I feel like this has to start with the fact that I’m obsessed with the film Moulin Rouge — from the very first time I saw it. In fact, when my co-star was leaving a group of us castmates got together, and we watched it. We balled throughout the whole thing. [Laughing.] It doesn’t matter how many times I see that film; I always think that Nicole Kidman and Ewan Mcgregor are the quintessential, absolutely perfect Satine and Christian. I really do put them on this pedestal, so I think I would choose Nicole Kidman as my person, and I would sing “Fly Away” to her, which is not in the theatrical musical, but it’s the song in the movie when they’re on the elephant and she sings, [Breaks into song] ‘One day I’ll fly away…”
I’ve admired Nicole Kidman ever since this film came out, and I would love to have her be sung to with that song. [With a smile]. Nicole would probably be like, ‘you don’t sing as well as me, honey,’ but I feel like she’d love and appreciate it.
KC: We are talking a lot about the film and the staged musical. What is the reason that you feel like live theater is so important?
CR: There’s so many reasons why it’s so important, and it is so different than watching a film. When you watch a film you can always rewatch it, and you are going to get the same edits, the same dialogue, the same expressions. There’s a positive to that. We love films because we know exactly what we’re going to get.
In theater, you can see a show over and over again, but each time you are going to receive a new experience. Something will be different, even if it is the smallest difference. In fact, I recently saw the show from an actual seat, which I rarely get to do. One of my co-stars was leaving, and I wanted to see him do the show from the audience’s viewpoint. It was so wonderful to watch the show; I can barely explain it. Even though I’m in that show, when I was watching it, it felt like a different show. I saw scenes in a way that I never saw before. Plus, I knew how much everyone had worked, and I knew how much time went into creating each and every one of those scenes, so there was so much pride coming out of me as I saw my company members put on this fantastic show. Their talents and their skills were all there in front of me, and it’s a memory I will never forget.
That’s what’s so beautiful about live theater. It takes this big, massive community — the set designers, the lighting, the music, the acting, the costumes, the audience — and everything has to line up perfectly in order to provide the audience with a play that moves them. It moves the actors as well. You feel so many emotions, and your excitement from seeing transitions happening that are seamless and perfect; it is one of the greatest experiences in life.
Plus, you know it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience because that show will never again happen in that exact same way. We all feel safe together, even if we don’t know each other, because we all, including the audience, build this experience together.
What can I say? There’s nothing like it.
You can see Courtney Reed star in the role of Satine in the upcoming engagement of Moulin Rouge! The Musical , which will play at the Saenger Theater April 5 until April 16 as part of the 2023 Broadway in New Orleans season presented by Entergy.