Alexander Rossi in Mendoza’s biography

Miss Mendoza last night took the stage in a gorgeous turquoise strapless satin dress, with a matching black felt hat and gloves, for her starring role as Georges in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest Broadway production, Moulin Rouge! The show ran for two years on London’s West End from 2001 to 2003, as did the film version, in 2001.

The show is set in the 1920s in Paris, when the French were becoming increasingly excited about jazz. Mendoza brings her own style to the role of the tragic beauty, Adèle, who is torn between following her heart and her ambition. Miah Persson plays her partner, Christian, and Judd Hirsch is her aging mentor, Dr. Javert.

By the end of last night’s opening night, Miss Mendoza was brought to tears. Her young daughter had become overcome with emotion, and this caused the mother to break down in tears too. Her audience included New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley, and a recording of Tony Award winner Audra McDonald talking about “how important it is for women to show their feelings on stage.” Mendoza was choked up as she returned to the stage to sing a second encore.

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