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BWW Interview: MOULIN ROUGE!'s Karli Dinardo & Reed Luplau Get Ready to Make it Rain for Australian Bushfire Relief

Moulin Rouge!

The bohemian values of truth, beauty, freedom, and - above all - love, have inspired Moulin Rouge! The Musical to rally together to support the relief efforts currently underway down under. As BroadwayWorld reported earlier this week, the company of Broadway's hit musical is banning together to make a difference.

Sunday, January 26th is Australia Day. For that day's performance of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, profits from the performance will be donated to support Australian wildfire relief efforts.

On Monday, January 27th, Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Friends will present the "Make it Rain Rally" a benefit for the Australian bushfires at (Le) Poisson Rouge (LPR) at 158 Bleecker St in New York City. An initiative by Australian cast members Karli Dinardo and Reed Luplau, this special event is directed by Mr. Luplau and will feature performances by singer-songwriter Ben Folds; the band Postmodern Jukebox with Morgan James; cast members of Moulin Rouge! The Musical along with performers from other Broadway shows including Frozen, Hamilton and Tootsie; drag personality Alexis Michelle; and more to be announced. The event is produced by Mr. Luplau and Hayley Isaacson. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

BroadwayWorld checked in with Dinardo and Luplau as they prepare for Mondays rally and tell us how fans can help.

At point in all of this devastation that has been happening over the past few weeks did you decide that you needed to do something?

KD: I believe it was a combined moment of realization. I think turning point for myself was the shift from the fires being something that we've experienced many times before, with the nature of Australia being very dry and very hot in summer. But when it became bigger and more devastating than anything we've ever experienced or could even think of- seeing the videos and documentation... I felt like I was watching a movie. Obviously it's very real and very devastating. That was the turning point for me.

I knew that Reed was feeling the same way and the he also wanted to do something. I was chatting with a friend of mine who is also Australian and on tour, and we felt so far away and we wished we could do something. He said, "There are so many Aussies in New York. There is no reason why you can't do something." So Reed was the first person who I wanted to talk to, because I knew he would feel passionate about it. He always makes a difference with the art that he creates. Also, he's been in America for a long time, so I knew he had a lot of contacts and people who he could call upon. So it started with a chat backstage one night at the show. Then it so quickly became bigger than anything that I could even imagine.

And the participating artists go way beyond just people in the Broadway community!

RL: Yes! As soon a Karli planted the seed, I was just like, "We're gonna find a venue and make this as big as we can." [Laughs] I brought a really good friend along who is producing a film with me, Haley Isaacson. She's producing this with me. She's so passionate about anything to do with the world and making a difference. I called her straightaway and she was like, "I'm in!" Then we contacted (Le) Poisson Rouge and they agreed to the date, so we had a venue straightaway.

Then of course we went to our Broadway community. I was a part of Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812, which led me to a lot of people like Ingrid Michaelson and Josh Groban. And a good friend of mine is dating Ben Folds. So I started by reaching out to people who I was somehow connected with and asked. Their responses have been amazing. I wanted the night to be not just about singing and Broadway performances, but a collection of everything that this community has to offer. So that demographically we could spread out and bring more people in. Of course, everyone knows about the devastation that is going on down there, and everyone wants to participate. And of course, it being the day after Australia Day is a help too...

Right- I know the Moulin Rouge! producers are doing another initiative on Sunday. Have they been helping in planning Monday's events as well?

RL: Hayley and I were working a lot with Carmen [Pavlovic], who is the CEO of Global Creatures- the lead producer of Moulin Rouge! Because that company is Australian, they had already been thinking of ways to make money and help give back to our home country. As soon as this idea came about, they wanted to join forces and they came in to support us 100%. They were able to help us with artwork, securing the location, and getting Moulin Rouge's name behind it to broaden the appeal. Carmen is actually flying back from the Grammys on Monday to be there and support us.

I'm sure every day has been chaotic in finalizing all of the plans for Monday...

Every 24 hours something good is happening! I'm creating a piece that Karli is dancing in, because I wanted to have a dance component as well. We had rehearsals yesterday for that. We're now working on all of the technical stuff... with the stage manager, the soundcheck, our band and music director.... it's a lot of emails [Laughs].

Is there any messaging that you're hoping to send home with the audience?

KD: Reed is an American citizen now, but I'm on a Green Card, which means that I'm not able to vote in this country. Climate change is such a massive discussion and it's obviously very controversial. What we're trying to create in this evening is a learning component: how it started; why it's happening. I think that reaches beyond just the bushfires in Australia. Everyone in the world needs to be aware of the reality of climate change. I hope that is brought to the surface on Monday evening as well. It effects every political decision in years to come.

All proceeds from the Australia Day performance of the Musical and the "Make it Rain Rally" will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund and WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue. Those who cannot attend in person or are looking for more ways to help can donate directly to these charities by clicking here.

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