For Broadway performer Lindsay Mendez, her voice is a melodic muscle she has been exercising since she was six years old. Mendez got an early start in her career after following in the footsteps of her big sister, who was also involved in the arts while they were growing up. Upon graduating from the Orange County High School of the Arts, Lindsay opted out of college and moved to New York City in 2001 to pursue her love of theatre. Averaging about 75 to 100 auditions per year now, the singer-actor-dancer is currently trying her hand as a jazz singer while continuing to see where her next acting adventure will take her.
What are you currently working on now? Are you still performing with Marco Paguia?
That’s my baby, that’s my thing. As an actor in theatre you do other people’s work, so for a long time I’ve been wanting to create something that I have control over and that I can really call my own. I met Marco doing Everyday Rapture on Broadway; we got invited to do a gig at Joe’s Pub, so we started working together. He’s an incredible jazz pianist, and together now we’re moving toward wanting to make a record.
How was it being a part of Everyday Rapture on Broadway?
It was a dream of a lifetime. It starred Sherie Rene Scott. I did it off-Broadway with her as well, so to get the chance to transfer something is really exciting.
It was received really well.
It got amazing reviews! The team on it is incredible. I was so intimidated when I got that job because our director, Michael Mayer, and the writers, Dick Scanlan and Tom Kitt, are Broadway royalty, I was like, “Oh God they’re going to hate me, I’m not good enough!”
In Everyday Rapture, the lead character struggles with feeling like a speck of dust wanting to prove to everyone how good she really is. Have you ever felt that conflict, where you know you’re good enough, but you have your doubts sometimes?
Yeah, definitely. I mean I go through that all the time still! You’d think that the higher up your status in this community is, the easier it gets. Actually, I think it gets harder. There’s more pressure, because now people at an audition will say, “I saw you in this! You were great, and you better be now as well.”
Do they associate you with that particular role?
I did Grease before Everyday Rapture and that was a very different role for me… So the fact that I was given the chance to do something like Everyday Rapture was proof that I hadn’t been pigeon-holed in the Grease part. I’m not the classic ingenue beauty, I’m not that at all, but I’ve been really lucky to get the opportunity to play some roles like that because people think I’m interesting and a different choice.
You think that the audiences are eager for more “real people” on stage?
Exactly, and I love that about the way musical theatre is going. I’m excited – it’s good for me, hopefully.
How would you define success in your industry, and why do you think you’ve been successful thus far?
I define success as being proud of what you’re doing and being able to stay afloat in this business.
To continue getting roles?
Yeah, I think so, but to also continue getting the right roles… I think you can work a lot in this business and be really unhappy in what you’re doing because you feel like you’re not passionate about your art. At one time, everyone who stumbled into this field did it because they loved it. And I always want to be loving it. That’s my number one idea of being successful. I always want to feel like what I’m doing is important to me and important to the people I’m doing it for; that I love my job, and feel like it’s making some sort of difference.
True. It’s always important to stay relevant as an actor.
I always feel like a lot of people are like, “Well, you made it on Broadway, so you’re important!” But the truth is that you do a Broadway show and then it closes. That happens and now what? Being on Broadway is an amazing experience, but it is a job that comes to an end, and then you hope that you’ll have more success. However, I’ve done some really wonderful things that have never been on Broadway, but that I’m really proud of developing and being a part of.
You sing and you dance and you act. How are those things similar when you do them and how are they totally different?
Wow. I trained in all of them. At this point, I’d say after doing it for so long they kind of just happen all similarly, my brain is able to turn on whatever switch I need to turn on.
What do you find rewarding about what you do?
Clearly, I love to get responses from people who’ve seen work I’ve done and who tell me they had a great time at the show. I love being able to take people away from their lives for two hours. Life sucks a lot. Sometimes. Life sucks sometimes. People go to a theatre or people go to a jazz club to be immersed in something else, drop their worries and their concerns for an hour or two hours. I love that I get to do that for people.
How can Daily BR!NK readers contribute to your success?
It would be great if they want to check out Marco’s and my music. We’re in the process of booking some more gigs so if people want to come out and support, they can sign up for our mailing list and keep up with us.