Playbill presents, exclusively, a five-part documentary series that focuses on the actors who bring The Lady Ms of Moulin Rouge! to vibrant life: Robyn Hurder as Nini, Jacqueline B. Arnold as La Chocolat, Holly James as Arabia, and Jeigh Madjus as Baby Doll. This dynamic quartet sings the iconic “Lady Marmalade” and hold the nightclub, central to the action of the critically acclaimed musical based on the film of the same name, together.
In the video above, which was filmed in February and subsequently seven months into the pandemic, Hurder discusses the effect of seeing her first Broadway show; her reaction to seeing the original Moulin Rouge! film; the balance between work and motherhood; life with her husband, fellow actor Clyde Alves; the demands of her latest, high-energy Broadway role; and more.
Below, Playbill checks in with Hurder, whose additional Broadway credits also include Nice Work If You Can Get It, Grease, The Wedding Singer, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Chicago.
What is your typical day like now?
I wake up at 6 AM … because my son, Hudson, wakes me up at 6 AM. I start the coffee, get him fed, we read a couple books together, and then begin remote learning. He only goes to the school building twice a week, and three days a week I teach him at home from 8:30 AM to 2 PM. Then I try to get some form of exercise in. Afterwards, my husband Clyde and I take our son to soccer practice. Dinner. I’m passing out by 9 PM.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
Anything that makes your soul happy or inspired. I suggest uplifting content.
During this time of reflection and re-education regarding BIPOC artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow actors, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
Proper representation needs to be shown on the stage. We need the little ones, that next generation that are sitting in the audience with wide eyes, to see and know that all of our differences are beautiful, equal, and right.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation and/or the current unrest?
Know that this is only a period of time. This will pass. It’s just going to take some time. But it’s just a moment. In the meantime, try to find joy at least once a day. Watch something that makes you laugh. FaceTime with someone you love. Try to connect with people that make your soul tingly. Do something that makes your insides happy. Even if it’s just for a minute, it makes a difference.
How, if at all, are you keeping your creative juices flowing? Has that been helpful to you?
Thank God I have a dance studio in my basement and my husband plays guitar. I’m regularly downstairs bouncing around, choreographing, enjoying my favorite tunes with my son by my side. Clyde and I are also always figuring out duets to sing together, building up a cute, romantic, comedic repertoire to eventually take around the town and play sets for those who want some live music.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
I’ve worked on a few! None I can speak about at the moment … but soon you’ll see!!
What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
I personally have been educating myself and donating to Black Lives Matter organizations. It’s so important for me to be a proper ally to the BIPOC community. For my future, for my son’s future. He’s watching me. Change starts now, but I look at him and have hope that he (and his generation) if raised correctly, can really make true change. That he will understand what true equality is.