Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Ten Years Later, Actress Who Had a Concussion on “Spider Man” Musical Returns to Broadway with “Moulin Rouge”


When Broadway’s “Moulin Rouge” announced the replacement for Karen Olivo today, I thought, that name sounds familiar.

And it wasn’t who we predicted, namely Deborah Cox.

No, the new Satine in “Moulin Rouge” is Natalie Mendoza. I believe the last time she was on Broadway it was to play Arachne in “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark.” She played the role from June 2011 through January 2014.

But what you may not remember is that she was in the first preview, in December 2010. That crazy, raucous night nothing worked on stage. Everyone was flying around, getting stuck, or overshooting their marks.

Mendoza sustained a concussion that night and left the show.Her injury wasn’t from falling anywhere. She was standing offstage when she was struck in the head by a rope holding a piece of equipment. Ironically, her understudy then was another actress with a similar name to the one she’s now replacing: America Olivo.

Mendoza played one performance. On Facebook she wrote that she was grateful to be down to two nausea tablets and four painkillers a day to cope with her concussion. “Thank goodness I had such a brilliant neurologist who made sure I recovered properly,” she wrote. “Nice to be almost back to normal … almost anyway haha! Thanking God for peace, real friends, love and health and healing.”

At the time, it was said she was heading home to Australia. She’d had enough. But in time, she returned and overcame the various perils of “Turn Off the Dark.”

She’s now replacing Olivo, who bailed during the pandemic because she was upset people in other shows had been treated badly by producer Scott Rudin. She hadn’t even known him, but the whole Rudin scandal sent her off the deep end.

So welcome back, Natalie. I don’t think there’s any aerial work in “Moulin Rouge,” but if there is, I’m sure they have a net!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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