Aaron Tveit turns on the red light in ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’


Amanda Riha

Illustration by

Casey Wiederhold, Associate Photography Editor

I remember when I saw “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” for the first time back in 2021. I was captivated by the male lead, Christian the composer. During intermission, I glanced through the Playbill and found the name of the actor who plays Christian. Aaron Tveit is his name and I will wear it out.

Tveit started with “Moulin Rouge” back in 2018 when the musical performed its out-of-town run in Boston, Massachusetts. He stayed with the musical until May 8, 2022, when he took his final bow after more than 500 shows. Tveit won a Tony Award in 2020 for “Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical,” a category in which he was the sole nominee that year.

On May 10, 2022, Derek Klena came to replace Tveit as the male lead and has done a fantastic job, but Tveit holds a special place in my heart.

When the Broadway musical reopened in September 2021, Tveit began to change his vocal stylings in the Act 2 number, “El Tango de Roxanne.” He began to option up the last note of the song, leaving audience members, including myself, stunned. An option is when singers hit the same note, but it is eight steps higher than it was originally written in the music. Musical theatre fans will remember when the social media managers for “Moulin Rouge!” posted the option-up on their pages, allowing fans to watch the short clip on repeat. A friend of mine and I are very guilty of this.

With Tveit’s departure from the musical, I wanted him to return to Broadway soon. My wishes came true on Dec. 1, 2022, when I was scrolling through Instagram and found a post from the Playbill account that Tveit was returning to the musical for a 12-week limited engagement. I immediately asked my parents to somehow purchase tickets, and with the holiday season coming around at the time, it was my way of convincing them.

On Feb. 4, I returned to the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in New York City to see Tveit. It was just as amazing as the first time I saw it. I sat in the audience eagerly applauding as Tveit made his entrance at the end of the pre-show and raised his hands to symbolize the beginning of the performance.

Once again the musical rendered me speechless. On the drive back home all I could talk about with my family was how much I enjoyed seeing the musical again. A hometown friend said, “Before Aaron leaves we should get can-can seats and go again.” She and I are planning to return to the place we both refer to as “The Rouge.’

Tveit has recently said in a tweet that he is working on new music. In a question and answer thread on Twitter, user @sendbacktherain asked, “You mentioned recently that you’ve been working on your own music- can you share any details on what you’ve been working on and if/when it will be shared? #AskAaronTveitTM.” to which Tveit responded, “I cannot lol. But. Soon!–AT #AskAaronTveitTM.”

When I found out that Tveit was going to be releasing his own music, I was excited. He has a phenomenal voice which allows him.to show the emotions that he wants to. I enjoy listening to his covers, so to be able to have the opportunity to listen to his original pieces is going to be interesting.

I am an Tveit appreciator and will listen to his music or cast albums when I walk to class or need music for background. Tveit has become one of my favorite Broadway actors over the years, and “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” is a popular jukebox musical with a healthy mix of popular songs that everyone would enjoy. But to hear Tveit’s voice on cast recordings is a thrilling part of my day. As the musical says, “the Moulin Rouge is a state of mind,” but I think Tveit is really a state of mind.