Casey Cott and Courtney Reed
Casey Cott and Courtney Reed

Casey Cott and Courtney Reed, Broadway’s Newest Bohemian and Sparkling Diamond

Hello, young lovers! Riverdale heartthrob Casey Cott and Broadway’s original Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, Courtney Reed, have teamed up to headline the hit musical Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Cott is making his Broadway debut as leading man Christian opposite Reed’s Satine and began performances on August 1. Reed previously played the role on the first national tour. Before they joined the Broadway production, NY1 News entertainment journalist Frank DiLella caught up with the performers to chat taking on Broadway’s hottest club.

Courtney Reed and Casey Cott, the newest stars of Moulin Rouge! The Musical on Broadway.
Courtney Reed and Casey Cott, the newest stars of Moulin Rouge! The Musical on Broadway.

Casey, this is your Broadway debut. Congratulations! Was Broadway always a dream?

CASEY COTT: Yes. I started a bit later than a lot of people in the industry. I started [doing theater] in high school. I remember seeing the Tonys and Aaron Tveit and Next to Normal and being like, “That’s so cool — I want to do that.” Broadway is Mecca. It’s creative and beautiful people all coming together to create something so much bigger than themselves.

What was the first show you performed in in high school?

CC: The first high school production I did was Oklahoma! Corey, my brother, was Curly; I was Cowboy #7. I had one line, which was “Don’t touch him” when Jud dies. And I forgot my line and Corey had to say it for me. Luckily, he knew the whole show, ’cause that’s Corey. [Laughs.] But the next year we did Guys and Dolls, and I wanted to get a part. And I got cast as Sky and had the best time. And that was the first time I caught the bug and wanted to keep going.

Courtney Reed in Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
Courtney Reed in Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Courtney, you’ve been playing Satine on the road. How excited are you to be bringing your version of Satine to Broadway?

COURTNEY REED: I’m over the moon. I haven’t been back to New York since I left Aladdin in 2018. So it’s crazy to be back post-pandemic at the Hirschfeld. I’m most excited to be descending from the swing in the middle of the theatre. It’s an iconic moment. So to be able to do that on Broadway — it feels like a bucket list thing.

Casey, you mentioned your brother, Corey Cott, who is a well-known Broadway performer who has been in Gigi, Newsies, and other productions. Any advice from Corey for making your Broadway debut?

CC: It’s funny you ask. I asked Corey the week before we started rehearsals for some advice; I said, “What do I need to do?” And he said, “You need to be as nice as possible and you need to absorb as much as possible.” And I think I was looking for a bit more. But 10 days in, it was the best advice, because everyone is so kind and just giving so much wonderful direction and advice. And being able to absorb that has been awesome.

The score for this show is a jukebox pop-music explosion. Are you a big pop music fan?

CR: Huge pop music fan. When I went to musical-theater school in Chicago, I was always the girl in the dorms blasting pop music while everyone else was blasting The Last Five Years and the latest musical that was hot. I was the pop diva. Britney is my idol. Christina, Beyoncé — all of them.

CC: I love a pop tune. I dip into the Pop 100 every once in a while. The cool thing about Moulin Rouge! is that it’s got pop songs from so many different decades. So whatever decade you’re into, you get a little flavor. Like, I love that we go from Katy Perry to Elton John to Sting. It’s so much fun.

Courtney, this isn’t your first time performing pop music on Broadway. You made your Broadway debut in Mamma Mia! Take me back to that time.

CR: It’s fun to be in a show like Mamma Mia! and Moulin Rouge! where people adore the music and can identify with the characters, and they have a blast from start to finish.

Are you a fan of the film Moulin Rouge!?

CC: For sure. I’m a huge Baz Luhrmann fan. I love all his stuff —I love The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!, Elvis. I love that he creates these fantastical worlds and focuses on the characters within them.

CR: I was a huge fan. For me, the pinnacle of the film was Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor and this phenomenal Baz Luhrmann cast and all of the visuals. I’m a huge Baz Luhrmann fan.

Courtney, did you meet Baz on the road?

CR: I did. It was awesome. He’s come a couple times on the road. The first time I met him, we were all in awe, just saying “We bow down to you — you’re our king!” He came on stage after our bows in L.A. and took a video and it was everything I anticipated Baz to be.

Casey Cott in Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Photo by Avery Brunkus.
Casey Cott in Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Photo by Avery Brunkus.

Casey, have you talked to Aaron Tveit or Derek Klena about making your Broadway debut as Christian?

CC: I’ve talked to Derek. I’ve known Derek for a few years now loosely. He’s so incredible. I’ve seen him in the show three times. I think that guy is a 10 out of 10 in every way.  I haven’t met Aaron yet. I know we will meet soon. And any wisdom he can share with me I will gladly take.

Casey, on Instagram you have more than 4.6 million followers. You clearly have an influence on young folks. Do you feel that responsibility? And do you ever think you could be introducing a whole new generation to the theater?

CC: I think social media is an interesting place. And I think whatever joy of the theater I can spread via that platform just makes me happy. I know if I was still in high school and liked theater and could go to Aaron Tveit’s Twitter or Instagram and see videos of the cast, I would’ve been just so excited to watch that. So I’m excited to show how much fun we’re all having. And for kids who want to do it: You have to work hard, and you can achieve it.

Courtney, you too have a huge fan base, with young folks first discovering you when you were doing Aladdin. You’re such a light on your social channels, constantly promoting positivity.

CR: I’ve had a lot of people come up to me at the stage door with Moulin Rouge! on tour saying “I saw you in Aladdin!” And it’s crazy when they show me pictures and say “I was in middle school” and they look like grown adults now.  So many of them have seen me in Aladdin and they’ve grown up with me in a sense — and I do feel responsibility. We’ve all been there: We’ve all had moments when we might look up to someone. Young adults come to see Aladdin and a lot of times it is their first musical. So for them to be on this journey with me, and get to see how I’ve grown as well, is special. Satine is a true leading lady and a departure from Jasmine. And it’s fun to reunite with all of these folks who’ve seen me in both of these iconic roles.

Casey Cott and Courtney Reed taking their first bows on August 1, 2023. Photo by Avery Brunkus.
Casey Cott and Courtney Reed taking their first bows in Moulin Rouge! The Musical on August 1, 2023. Photo by Avery Brunkus.

Casey, what do you think you’ll be thinking about on your opening night on Broadway?

CC: I hope I don’t die. [Laughs.] The show starts off with me having this moment to kick-start the festivities, and I’m thankful I have that. I can go out in the theatre, feel the audience, and not have to speak or sing. Just take a few deep breaths and then get into it. I’m hoping I can relax and enjoy it. You only get one Broadway debut.

Courtney, how about you, with returning to Broadway? 

CR: I will have a lot of gratitude. If one thing the pandemic has taught us is to be grateful.

Learn More About Moulin Rouge! The Musical