Karen Olivo will not come back on ‘Moulin Rouge!’

Karen Olivo will not come back on ‘Moulin Rouge!’

Karen Olivo, a Tony-nominated star of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” said Wednesday that she would not rejoin the show’s cast when Broadway performances resume.

She made the declaration in a five-minute Instagram video. “I could easily go back to the show and make a lot of money,” she said, “but I still wouldn’t be able to really control what I was putting out into the world, and what I’m seeing in this space, right now, with our industry, is that everybody is scared, and nobody is really doing a lot of the stuff that needs to be done.”

She referred specifically to the powerful producer Scott Rudin, who has for quite some time been depicted as harmful toward staff members, most as of late in a definite April 7 article in The Hollywood Reporter. Rudin isn’t a producer of “Moulin Rouge!,” and Olivo has not worked with him, however she has been vocal with her interests about by and large industry practices.

“The silence about Scott Rudin: unacceptable,” she said in the video. “That should be a no-brainer.”

She challenged colleagues to speak up. “Those of you who say you’re scared — what are you afraid of?” she said. “Shouldn’t you be more afraid of not saying something and more people getting hurt?”

In a call later Wednesday, Olivo said that the absence of a more extensive reaction to The Hollywood Reporter story “cracked me open” and added to her inclination that “Broadway is not the place I want to be.”

A Rudin spokesman said he would have no comment.

Olivo, 44, started her Broadway profession as an understudy in “Rent.” She broke out in the first cast of the Lin-Manuel Miranda melodic “In the Heights,” and in 2009 won a Tony Award playing Anita in a revival of “West Side Story.”

She has moved back from the business previously. In 2013 she moved to Madison, Wis., where she and her significant other have a home and are co-nurturing two youngsters. She has been living there since Broadway shut down the previous spring.

Olivo has been teaching classes essentially at her alma mater, the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, and said she stayed committed on creating develop aspiring artists. During the pandemic, she and another actor, Eden Espinosa, likewise framed a advocacy organization, Afect, that tries to carry more prominent monetary straightforwardness to the theater business.

In a interview conducted in December, Olivo communicated worries about whether Broadway would advance after the closure, and whether she would get back to it. “I hope that everyone is working to change the industry and not just trying to get back so we can fill our coffers again,” she said.

“Social justice is actually more important than being the sparkling diamond,” she said in Wednesday’s video, alluding to her “Moulin Rouge!” character, Satine, who is referred to that way in the musical. “Building a better industry for my students is more important than me putting money in my pockets.”

In the telephone interview, Olivo added: “I’m going to make art with the people that I think match my integrity, who want to do it right, and if those people don’t come, then I will make it myself.”

The “Moulin Rouge!” makers said in a proclamation that the show “is forever indebted to Karen Olivo’s artistry, passion, and craft in creating the role of Satine onstage. We applaud and support Karen’s advocacy work to create a safe, diverse, and equitable theater industry for all.”

Recently, three media outlet associations gave an assertion calling for “harassment-free workplaces,” provoked by the Hollywood Reporter story, yet not alluding to it.

“No worker should be subjected to bullying or harassment, whether or not they are a union member,” said the proclamation from the presidents of SAG-AFTRA, the Actors’ Equity Association, and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802.

Priyanka Patil

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