#NBCLatino20: Karen Olivo — The toast of Broadway

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By Raul A. Reyes

So many dream of Broadway, but few have made it in the Great White Way. Karen Olivo has — and she has a Tony Award to prove it.

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” sings Olivo nightly in the extravagant production of "Moulin Rouge! The Musical."

Karen Olivo.Illustration by Aaron Fernandez for NBC News / Photo via Getty Images

With "Moulin Rouge," Olivo returns to Broadway in the stage adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film. Her portrayal of the chanteuse Satine has won raves from theater critics. She's been called “dazzling” in “a performance that sends her into the constellation of great musical actresses.”

Olivo is no stranger to success. She won a Tony in the 2009 revival of "West Side Story." Before that, she was in the original Broadway cast of "In the Heights" and the Chicago company of "Hamilton."

Olivo began working as an actress before she received her undergraduate degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Olivo’s achievements are especially remarkable given that Latinos comprise less than 3 percent of active members of the Actors Equity union. In playing a cabaret singer in turn-of-the-20th-century Paris, Olivo is showing audiences that Latinx actors can shine in any role.

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