From Paideia to Paris: A Q&A With ‘Moulin Rouge’ Swing Tamrin Goldberg
For Paideia School graduate and former Atlanta Ballet Center for Education student Tamrin Goldberg, her return to our city in “Moulin Rouge The Musical,” playing through Sunday at the Fox Theatre, represents a homecoming. As a dance student 15 years ago, Goldberg performed in the Atlanta Ballet’s “Nutcracker” on the historic stage.
“We got to take a backstage tour of the Fox when I was in the eighth grade,” recalls Goldberg. “We’ve played a lot of amazing theaters on this tour but nothing compares to the Fox. Being onstage and looking out into that big gorgeous ornate house with the stars in the ceiling and those clouds floating by? It’s amazing.”
As a swing in the show for the past year, Goldberg is responsible for covering eight different roles in the musical and also understudies the role of La Chocolat. As the daughter of Emory University professor Dr. Stefan Goldberg, a retired senior medical officer at the CDC who has dedicated much of his life’s work to the global eradication of tuberculosis, the medical malady at the center of “Moulin Rouge” is personal for Tamrin. During a tour stop in Dallas last month, Goldberg and members of the cast held a tuberculosis benefit concert for the Treatment Action Group and We Are TB.
Goldberg spoke with Eldredge ATL about the hard-working life of a swing, her TB advocacy and why the show’s themes of Truth Beauty Freedom and Love resonate for her.
Eldredge ATL: As we continue to come out of this pandemic, the life of a Broadway swing is probably as unpredictable as ever. What are some of the wildest things you’ve experienced on this tour so far?
Tamrin Goldberg: This is my first time as a swing. It has been so thrilling. I’ve gone from a place of almost wanting to turn down the job when I was offered the swing position to wanting to swing for the rest of my life. Two moments come to mind. Almost exactly a year ago, I was the last offstage principal cover to go on stage. There are nine of us in this production. Due to COVID and injuries, etc., everyone else had gone on and I was sitting back, waiting for my opportunity. That’s the hardest part of being a swing. And then, I got to debut in the show as La Chocolat, one of the Lady Ms and then two days later, I got COVID. I ended up doing two days and then I sat in my room for a week and a half! In another city, we made it almost to the end of the show on the last night of a run. I was in the green room with a couple of the other offstage company members. I had just taken off my makeup. I had been on for the matinee and wasn’t scheduled to be on for the evening performance. And then, one of the dancers got injured during “Roxanne,” basically 20 minutes until the end of the show. I heard my name on the intercom. I ran to the dressing room where our wardrobe supervisor was already waiting for me with my tights. Our dance captain came down and literally glued the eyelashes on my face and I was on stage within three minutes! It was wild.
Eldredge ATL: In a show full of big musical numbers, can you describe being a part of “Diamonds,” Satine’s big entrance? From Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Bassey to Madonna and Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, it covers over a half century of popular music.
Tamrin Goldberg: “Diamonds” is so much fun. The entire female ensemble comes out in these blond wigs and I never get to be blond! It’s kind of this heightened transformation where we’re here in this Madonna-esque blond wig and the choreography is such fun. It’s the glitz and the glamour but the great thing about Sonya Tayeh’s choreography is even when we’re doing more traditional looking choreography, there’s such a grit to it, such a groundedness. And then Courtney Reed as Satine sings that medley with such beauty and grit. There are over 70 songs in the show that span 400 years. The way it’s all woven together seamlessly is unbelievable. It’s why this is a show worth seeing over and over again because there are so many layers.
Eldredge ATL: In spirit, “Moulin Rouge” reminds me a lot of both “Cabaret” and “Rent.” It’s a show about young people and bohemia but this show has a more positive spin where “Cabaret” is more of a cautionary tale. In both “Rent” and “Moulin Rouge” there’s this serious underpinning of illness. “Moulin Rouge” is a show that reaches so many young theatre-goers but they may not make the connection between consumption and tuberculosis. Can you talk a bit about your dad’s work at the CDC toward ending TB and why you’ve picked up the mantel?
Tamrin Goldberg: For years now, my dad and I have been talking about how we can use this platform of “Moulin Rouge,” a musical that reaches so many people around the world. Tuberculosis and consumption are the same thing but often, audience members, cast members and even the crew don’t make the connection and that TB is still so prevalent in the world today. A quarter of the world’s population has latent TB infection. Over a million and a half people a year still die every year of tuberculosis. As a performer in the show, I have the opportunity to raise awareness. In Dallas, a few weeks ago we put on a benefit concert to raise money and awareness for TB. We ended up raising $17,000 for two TB advocacy organizations. We did it leading up to World TB Day on March 24. I’m so grateful to the company for letting me use this platform. We even did an Instagram takeover on the Moulin Rouge Broadway page on World TB Day to share information and give people a chance to ask questions and refer them to experts.
Eldredge ATL: The mantra of this show is “Truth Beauty Freedom Love.” What’s it like to bring those messages to audiences across the country, especially right now in these times?
Tamrin Goldberg: It’s so special to be a part of this show and as an artist to get to perform this material, especially as someone who grew up in the dance world. To take two of the words, “Truth” and “Freedom” of this movement is something I’ve so rarely experienced in my professional career. To get to share the beauty of this show and the love we have for this piece with audiences across the country is amazing. “Truth Beauty Freedom Love.” That’s what the world is all about.
“Moulin Rouge The Musical,” is on stage at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre through Sunday, April 30. For more info and tickets, go to the Fox Theatre website. You can follow Tamrin Goldberg via her Instagram page.
Richard L. Eldredge is the founder and editor in chief of Eldredge ATL. As a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta magazine, he has covered Atlanta since 1990.