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Natalie Mendoza Is Back on Broadway in ‘Moulin Rouge!’

Speaking of your path, I looked through your Instagram and you mention Transcendental Meditation, Christ, the Divine Mother, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Ram Dass, Rumi, a Hindu god, St. Francis of Assisi. What’s going on?

I really honor the essence that permeates all the great faiths, including the faith of quantum mechanics. The intelligence that allows a flower to bloom. That invisible essence that connects and permeates all. We see the crema on top of every great faith. There’s just this commonality that they all share, which is love and peace and compassion. I’m a fan of all of them and a devotee of all of them.

Your last Broadway appearance was “Spider-Man.” You left after a concussion. Tell me what your thinking was about coming back.

I realized there’s some unfinished business here, because it brought up some strange feelings, like, “Do I want to revisit that?” And I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to perform on Broadway again, because sometimes when things like that happen, you become untouchable. “Oh, you know, she was part of that production.” And so the opportunity to be given this chance, and to change the narrative, because I’m certainly not a quitter — it is the last thing I would ever have expected, but it’s incredibly beautiful to be doing this.

How do you view “Spider-Man” in the rearview mirror?

It’s its own Greek myth, isn’t it? It was a really powerful turning point for me. To get that close, and to suddenly not be doing it, was a pretty devastating blow. And at the same time, it’s always those devastating blows that propel you, if you allow them to, in a direction spiritually that can be the greatest gift of your life, and certainly that’s what happened. I am so thankful to have gone through that experience, and also to carry so many of the lessons from that experience into this experience. It’s all beautiful.

When I heard you got this role, the first thing that occurred to me is that Satine flies. Did that freak you out?

Not at all. People thought I left that show because I was scared, and I wasn’t. I was making a stand. People’s safety is important, and it wasn’t my safety I was concerned about. I’m a rock climber. I’m not scared of heights. I’m not afraid. I don’t think any show is worth putting anybody’s life at risk, particularly these dancers that have spent their entire lives training to be up on that stage. You have to treat those bodies with so much respect, because that’s their livelihood. I would never want stardom so much that I would compromise my own integrity. And I have no problem taking a stand for anybody.

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