I first spoke with Lindsay Mendez last year when she was getting ready to perform at Joe's Pub in Ryan Scott Oliver's "Songbook Release Concert." Since that time, she starred in the Broadway revival of "Godspell" and premiered Ryan Scott Oliver's "35MM."
Now Lindsay is starring in Peter Duchan's "Dogfight," with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, directed by Joe Mantello, and choreography by Christopher Gattelli. "Dogfight" plays at Second Stage Theatre (305 West 43rd Street). Click here for tickets!
1. Last time we spoke, you were singing in Ryan Scott Oliver's Joe's Pub concert for the release of his Songbook. Since then you starred in "Godspell" on Broadway, Ryan's "35MM," and now you are in the world premiere of "Dogfight" at Second Stage. How did you initially come to know Ryan Scott Oliver and what do you identify most with about his music? I met Ryan through a mutual friend of ours who thought that we would "click." I made a meeting with him to go to his apartment and have him play through some of his music for me and I just about fell out of my chair. I couldn't believe how incredible he was. I think what draws me most to Ryan's music is that it tackles moments in our lives and says things that we all are thinking and want to say, but never do. I feel like he has a unique ability to put situations into song and make us as the actor tackle those things in such a brave way. And as an actor, I am all about being brave.
2. What was the best part about starring in "35MM"? What excites you about the release of the cast album? The best part about "35MM" as a whole is that it is a project I collaborated on with my best friends. Ryan, Matt, Betsy, Alex, Jay, Ben…these are people that have been in my life for a long time, and Ryan and Matt putting this show together for us, and the five of us performing it and working on it together…well, it was just heaven. I am so proud of it.
I think people are going to hear the cast album and freak. It is done so beautifully. I can't wait for it to become a standard in everyone's "Musical CD" collection. Cause it deserves a prime slot.
3. You tore up the stage in the recent Broadway revival of "Godspell." What did you enjoy most about starring in this production? "Godspell" was a wonderful experience for me. I think the fact that we all kind of pitched in to create the show was what made it so personal and special. It is a beast of a show to put together, and I was really proud of our cast for working so hard and making something beautiful.
4. Now, you are raising the roof in "Dogfight" at Second Stage. What attracted you to this show? I loved this story so much. I loved this character, "Rose," and the journey she goes through in becoming a woman through out this one evening…Getting to put this on stage was just something I felt I had to do.
5. What do you identify most with about your character, "Rose"? "Rose" tries to see the good in everyone and come at things with an open mind always. This is a quality I always try and possess as well, and playing her and made me an even more open person, I think.
6. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Dogfight"? I hope they will come away feeling like they had a collaborative experience in theater that night. I think we require our audiences to think and participate in following our story. It is ACTIVE theater for your brain. And your heart. I love that.
7. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? I LOVE putting changes in the show during previews and trying them out for the first time in front of an audience. It is SO much fun to see what works and what doesn't. It can be really rewarding, or really eggy…which is also sort of fun. It's a great way to bond with your cast and team…you do your best, and see what happens.
8. What's the best advice you've ever received? To be a good actor…you can't ever be "Right."
9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying…definitely. I'd love to fly like super man.