Although not yet a marquee name, Lindsay Mendez sits comfortably atop many Broadway fans’ lists of favorite performers. For those unfamiliar with her, that’s all changing thanks to her well-received performance in this season’s revival of Godspell, as well as her endless lineup of cabaret gigs. In her latest concert engagement, Mendez headlines with her jazz partner Marco Paguia January 18 at Joe’s Pub. Before a performance of Godspell (but not after a day of workshop and concert rehearsal), Mendez sat down with Stage Rush to discuss the endless amounts of energy required for Godspell, singing with her Broadway A-list friend (and former roommate) Sierra Boggess at the ASTEP New York City Christmas concert, and whether she sees above-the-title billing in her future.
This show looks like it’s so much fun to perform. What’s been the best moment so far?
I’d say opening night, just because it was such a mammoth task to take on redoing this show. In the beginning of rehearsal, we all thought this could either be really awesome and fun, or it was going to be really bad. It took a while for it to come together. When we opened, the show was fluid and wonderful.
Since your character is called Lindsay, what qualities of Lindsay Mendez are in the character you play in Godspell?
I think the Lindsay in the show has a lot of joy and definitely wants to go her own way. She’s also very materialistic. I don’t think I’m quite as bad as her, in that respect. But I really like playing her because I get to wear really fancy things. I don’t wear anything this nice. There aren’t many things that differ from her and I and it’s been really fun to have the audience get to know who I really am.
Is that difficult to play yourself?
I feel like I always bring a huge part of myself to any role I play. In Everyday Rapture, I played myself as well, in a way. I’m kind of used to playing myself. It’s not as foreign to me.
This is such a vocally heavy show with sustained energy. How is your voice and energy level holding up?
My body is more tired than my voice. The first couple weeks, the cast was saying there’s no way we’re going to be able to do this. We’re on stage the whole time; we sing every song; we never get water; we never get a break. I had to figure out how to manage. When you’re doing a Broadway show, it can start to feel like jail, in a way. All you do is wake up and hope you have enough of a voice to do the show and that your body feels good enough to perform at night. I’m trying to find the balance of having my own life in the daytime, then coming here at night and doing a great job. It’s an ongoing learning process for me. Read more
- Raul Esparza, Sierra Boggess, and more sing devastatingly beautiful Christmas songs at ASTEP’s annual holiday benefit concert
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Who had the best performance of the night at ASTEP’s Christmas concert? Would you forgo Christmas presents in exchange for hearing Raul Esparza sing (like I would)? What’s your favorite Christmas song that you’d like to see one of these guys perform? (An album of songs featured in the concert is available on iTunes and at Sh-K-Boom Records.) Leave your swooning and inappropriate thoughts in the comments below!
Raul Esparza shook his ass, Sherie Rene Scott compared Lindsay Mendez to her right breast, and Seth Numrich showed up to announce he can’t sing. Yes, everyone was in the holiday spirit at ASTEP’s fourth annual New York City Christmas concert at Joe’s Pub December 12. (An album of songs featured in the concert is available on iTunes and at Sh-K-Boom Records.) The evening of Broadway A-listers performing Christmas songs to innovative arrangements proved as solid and gorgeous as ever, mixed in with a lot of good humor. Here’s what went down.
Sherie Rene Scott, Lindsay Mendez, and Betsy Wolfe (previously seen together in Everyday Rapture) kicked off the show with Mariah Carey’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” in such sassy, female rocker fashion, it made me wish the three would form a permanent girl rock group. The bond between the three women seemed strong, as their chemistry flared during their feisty number and between songs, they exchanged playful banter. Scott told a story in which an early scene for Everyday Rapture had Mendez and Wolfe playing her breasts, with character names simply “Left” and “Right.” Scott credited her strong relationship with Mendez saying, “Lindsay will always be my Right.”
VIDEO: Sherie Rene Scott, Lindsay Mendez, and Betsie Wolfe sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
There’s a lot happening on stage at Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, but unfortunately, not enough of the right things. This new David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane musical is jam-packed with Broadway A-listers, but unfortunately, Broadway’s best actors don’t write. Which asks the question: why would the likes of Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Sherie Rene Scott sign on to a show with such poor writing?
Based on the 1988 Pedro Almodovar film of the same name, the story finds Pepa (Scott) dumped via answering machine by her lover Ivan (Mitchell). The message sends her into a “Why me??” rampage across Madrid, in which she meets Ivan’s wife, Lucia (LuPone), who is just as “Why me??”—only funnier. Pepa’s airhead of a pal (Laura Benanti) finds out she might be dating a terrorist and Lucia’s son’s fiancée (Nikka Graff Lanzarone) thinks her future husband might have separation issues with his mother, and before you know it, they’re all crying “Why me??”
Why this show? Why now? Why would Yazbek, Lane, and director Barlett Sher (of the fantastic South Pacific revival) unite this cast for such a paper-thin musical? Since the show is only scheduled to run till only the end of January, perhaps it’s because these actors figured this would be an easy showcase. And it is—no one in the cast breaks a sweat.
Scott gives a vacant performance as Pepa, unable even to make her character’s whininess authentic. Lanzarone gives off a “Why am I even here?” air to her performance. The fantastic de’Adre Aziza (Passing Strange) isn’t given anything to work with. (She understudies the role of Pepa, which I would be very keen on seeing.)
No one in Women on the Verge is given much character depth. That said, Patti LuPone makes a refreshing switch from her usual weighty roles and absolutely relishes in her eccentric Lucia. Whether she’s shamelessly ripping off a wig or standing in front of a Picasso painting and declaring how terrible she looks, LuPone is having a blast on stage, and thus gives the audience some of the evening’s few charms. Danny Burstein, hot off his last Sher collaboration with South Pacific, can once again be counted upon to bring the charm. His Taxi Driver doesn’t do much but spin Pepa around the stage in a crazy cab a few times, but each time is a welcome arrival. The real credit in the cast goes to Benanti, who is a riot as the model Candela. She’s a delightful twit with perfect timing, hilarious facial twists, and spot-on physical comedy. She delivers the best number of the show with “Model Behavior,” as she leaves a call-screening Pepa an innumerable amount of I-need-your-help voicemails. Read more
We all know that Broadway and hamminess go hand in hand. One is just a part of the other as peanut butter is to jelly. Yet the level of obnoxiousness that Sherie Rene Scott reaches in her one-woman show Everyday Rapture is downright off-putting.