Liisi LaFontaine and Jamie Bogyo Chat with LBC News Presenter Jim Diamond
A chat with the actors playing Satine and Christian in the West End’s Moulin Rouge! The Musical (tickets at MoulinRougeTheMusical.co.uk). Liisi LaFontaine shares her favourite part of the show, and Jamie Bogyo reveals the spectacular first impression audiences can expect the moment they enter London’s Piccadilly Theatre.
Listen to their conversation with LBC, or read the full transcript below.
Liisi Lafontaine and Jamie Bogyo (7th June 2022). LBC News, presenter Jim Diamond
Photo courtesy of West End Media
JIM: Hello, guys!
JAMIE & LIISI: Hiya! / Hello!
JIM: How are you?
LIISI: Good, yeah.
JAMIE: Happy to be here, thanks for having us!
JIM: Not at all. I’m going to start recording now. Before we speak, let’s just get in the mood. Prepare to get some goosebumps!
LIISI: Oh, yeah! Ooh!
[Snaps, music begins – “Lady Marmalade”]
JIM: The 10-time Tony Award-winning musical Moulin Rouge! The Musical has had its run at the Piccadilly Theatre in London extended to January 2023. The hit show transforms the 2001 film of the same name into a musical theatre extravaganza and features more than 55 pop songs like this:
HE MET MARMALADE DOWN IN OLD MOULIN ROUGE
STRUTTIN’ HER STUFF ON THE STREET
It’s very hard not to tap your feet right now. Luckily, we can speak to two of the central stars in this production, Liisi LaFontaine and Jamie Bogyo. Hello!
LIISI & JAMIE: Hello! / Hiya!
JIM: Good to have you here! Let’s start off though if we can with a super brief introduction of your characters for people that aren’t familiar with the show.
LIISI: I play Satine who is the Sparkling Diamond of the Moulin Rouge. She’s the star of the club and she fall in love with…
JAMIE: Christian, who I play – the penniless composer from America who is over in Paris to be an artist, but mostly to find love.
JIM: Now, the show itself – the Piccadilly Theatre to say it’s been transformed is an understatement. It certainly has brought the Parisian night club windmill and elephant sculptures to like. How do you describe it yourself? You’re on the stage, you’re surrounded by it.
JAMIE: It is an absolute eye-popping extravaganza! From the moment you walk into the theatre there is red velvet everywhere, there is a giant elephant, there is a windmill, there are lights like you’ve never seen – it’s the most immersive, magnificent set most people have ever seen, including myself.
LIISI: Yeah, we’ve been in the theatre for 7 months now, maybe 8 months. And I still everyday look around and I’m like “This is crazy!”, it’s insane.
JIM: Well, Liisi, I don’t want to obviously give too much away – can you talk about your entrance at all?
LIISI: Oh, I sure can. Definitely, I think, maybe the coolest entrance in theatre right now. I think originally it was Glinda with the bubble, but this might’ve topped it. I do enter by a trapeze swing. I come down glittering from the ceiling, have a gorgeous dismount and then go into a full dance number. It’s basically the movie but set for stage. It’s thrilling every night to come down and just hear the gasps.
JIM: Cause you’re suspended in the air for about 15 minutes, is that right?
LIISI: No, no, no. I’m not on for the first couple of songs in the show, so I’m preparing near the swing. I’m dangling for about 4 minutes…
JIM: Jamie, what’ your favourite part of the show?
JAMIE: Oh, man. I think just getting these incredible iconic love songs with Liisi and having these medleys of music that has spanned across 60, I mean really 150 years, if you include some of the original Can-Can music. But getting to perform these songs and hearing the audience gasp with recognition and then clap at the end, it’s such an honour to be a part of that tradition.
JIM: And Liisi?
LIISI: Favourite part? I would honestly say the ending. I feel like this show is such a rollercoaster in the best possible way – by the end we all reach a destination together and it’s just a celebration. And I think, especially after these last couple of years, it’s so amazing to be in a room just full of joyful people… And the confetti are falling, and people are dancing and we’re all dancing and it’s just this beautiful exchange of energy that you can’t get anywhere other than live theatre, I think.
JIM: And the talent runs in the family, your mum’s a musical star.
LIISI: My mum is a singer, yeah! My dad is a voice-over artist.
JIM: And Jamie, you learned your craft at RADA?
JAMIE: I did, yes, although my parents are also very performative people. I trained in England for three years and I’ve been living here ever since, so even though I’m, you know, American by birth and accent, I consider myself sort of… you know, England’s home for me right now.
JIM: How does a UK audience differ?
JAMIE & LIISI: Well… / Ooh…
LIISI: I think, honestly, usually sometimes UK audiences are a bit more reserved, but I did Dreamgirls before this and the audiences were pretty wild for Dreamgirls, and this is a pretty equal thing.
JAMIE: They’re breaking them all, you know, they’re destroying stereotypes every Friday and Saturday night, they’re pretty wild.
LIISI: Absolutely wild!
JIM: And of course, you know, you’re putting a lot of energy into the performance, obviously, night after night. It’s great there’s an extended run so that people can see it into January of next year.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
JAMIE: I have a very long warm-up routine, which annoys Liisi because our dressing rooms are next to each other.
LIISI: Jamie warms up for about an hour and a half.
JAMIE: I’m going to start warming up in about 5 minutes actually, so…
LIISI: I like to watch true crime YouTube videos while I do my makeup, and that’s pretty much it.
JIM: Brilliant stuff! Well, thank you so much for spending time with us.
JAMIE: And you can buy tickets at moulinrougemusical.com for our extended run. Come on down and enjoy!
JIM: Fantastic stuff. Thank you so much!
JAMIE & LIISI: Thank you! / Thank you!
JIM: Thanks a lot, great show! Take care!