“We grab them and we really don’t let them go until the lights come up and it’s over, and so that’s fantastic,” Olivo says in the video above. “I’ve never been a part of something like that.”
That enrapturing ideology stems from the source material: Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film. “Baz is one of the greatest filmmakers,” director Alex Timbers says. “”He was a theatre maker first, so it’s highly cinematic and highly theatrical. Many people over the years have been like, ‘Of course this would be a stage adaptation at some point.’ How do we honor the aesthetic of Baz Luhrmann but make something that is truly for the stage? It’s an exciting challenge.”
The musical, now in previews and officially opening at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre July 25, riffs on the movie with the expansion of the catalog of hits that comprise the score. In addition to such tunes as “Your Song,” “Lady Marmalade,” and “All You Need Is Love” are more recent numbers like “Firework” and “Bad Romance.”
“It’s so fun,” choreographer Sonya Tayeh says of watching audiences take in number after number. “You hear them—feel them notice, and then the response happens, and then they hold on to it and look at their friends. You get a sense of embracing the change. It’s not all the same as the film…so that’s been reassuring.”
The cast feels the love from the audience as well. Theatre veteran Danny Burstein has quite the endorsement: “This is my 18th Broadway show, and I’ve never seen audience’s reactions like this show. The audiences are losing their minds.”
Check out the interviews below to hear more from Tveit, book writer John Logan, music supervisor Justin Levine, and co-stars Tam Mutu, Sahr Ngaujah, Ricky Rojas, and Robyn Hurder.