In a nutshell, Heather Lindell is thrilled to be a part of La Cage! A Los Angeles native, she trained and received her B.A. from the Ray Bolger Musical Theater program at UCLA, incorporating the Stanislavski and Meisner techniques. While in college she was cast in the Tony Award winning Broadway musical "Hairspray!" Upon returning from New York, she landed the contract role of Jan Spears on "Days Of Our Lives." Her portrayal of this character won her a Soap Digest Award for Best Young Actress. She then went on to star in Garry Marshall's adaptation of his hit TV series Happy Days at The Falcon Theater; and a recurring role on "As The World Turns." Other credits include the films "Getting There" opposite the Olsen twins and "Scrambled Eggs," a comedy also featuring Michael Rappaport and Dennis Farina.
With LaCage opening on Broadway to rave reviews, Lindell was kind enough to share a few moments of her busy day with Soapdom.
SOAPDOM: Which do you prefer? Live theatre, soaps or film/primetime tv.
HEATHER LINDELL: I can't say I necessarily prefer one over of the other. I've been fortunate enough to have experiences in all of these genres and each is distinctively unique.
SOAPDOM: What are the challenges and advantages of each one.
HL: The challenges of Broadway are certainly the amount of work. Eight shows a week is absolutely exhausting, even more exhausting than playing the crazy Jan Spears on "Days of Our Lives." The material in "La Cage" never changes so it's my job as the actor to make each performance different for myself. It's interesting and exciting to find new nuances on stage every night.
One challenge of the soap work was the early mornings. I'm really not a morning person and I used to have to be at NBC at 6:30am for makeup. My storyline on "Days" also required tons of memorization so that was a huge challenge.
One advantage of doing film and or tv is that it lasts forever. I love looking at old episodes of "Days" or old movies I've done. In theater, it's a singular experience that exists once, never to be recreated. If you weren't in the audience, you missed the magic of that performance in that moment.
SOAPDOM: How do they all differ?
HL: There is nothing more exhilarating than performing for a live audience. It's such a beautiful experience to hear the audience's laughter and how much they enjoy the show. My energy is also a bit more heightened on stage than on film. I'm allowed to be bigger and more dramatic on stage and I love that.
SOAPDOM: How are they all alike?
HL: In both theater and film I get to work with actors most of whom I've never met. I've made incredible friends who have shared the same experience as me working on that particular project. I'm still very close with Farah Fath who played Mimi on "Days" and who is now on "One Life" in New York as well.
SOAPDOM: When did you know you wanted to act?
HL: I started singing and dancing at the age of 2, before I could even formulate sentences. My mother saw that I loved attention and making people laugh, so she started me with lessons. I've studied acting, singing and dancing ever since.
SOAPDOM: What was it like performing in front of a live audience for the first time?
HL: I started performing in public when I was about 6 years old. Every year my dance studio held recitals and I was always featured as a singer. I sang "Broadway Baby" the first year in a blue ruffle dress. My mom has the tape somewhere, it's hilarious! It was so long ago that I don't recall exactly how I felt but I know I always loved doing it.
SOAPDOM: What's Kelsey Grammar like? Do you know that his daughter, Spencer Grammar (ABC Family's Greek), got her start on As the World Turns? Did you get to work with her then?
HL: For such a huge star Kelsey Grammar could not be more down to earth. He is the consummate professional, always in a good mood and making the cast laugh. He is a joy to be around and to work with. Ironically, I've known Spencer Grammar for over a year now. I didn't meet her through As the World Turns but rather through mutual friends. She has become a great friend of mine. We get manicures together in the east village often and we laugh that out of all the shows in New York I managed to get cast in the one starring her dad.
SOAPDOM: Describe your role in La Cage. What drew you to it? What's the character's name?
HL: I play Colette who is the ex girlfriend of the young male ingénue. Colette is a sassy girl always looking to have a good time and be the center of attention. She dates or has dated most of the men in San Tropez (where the story takes place) and has a great fashion sense. She is actually quite similar to Jan Spears in that they are both vixens.
SOAPDOM: Please share an anecdote about being in this play, or "a funny thing happened on the way to the audition," kind of story.
HL: I almost missed my opportunity to audition because I was getting married in Palm Springs, California. Luckily, my manager convinced casting to bring me in for the call backs. Fortunately for me, they did, and I got the part!
SOAPDOM: What was the first thing you did when you learned you got the part?
HL: I was really excited! I called my husband and my parents right away and I'm sure I was screaming with elation. Then my husband took me to my favorite restaurant in New York -- Il Buco -- to celebrate.
SOAPDOM: Congrats on your Soap Opera Digest Award for Best Young Actress. Where were you when you first found out you were nominated?
HL: I remember being on the set of "Days" when I found out I was nominated for best new actress. It was such an honor to be recognized for that role because Jan Spears was certainly not easy to play. I captured Shawn, made him my love slave, tried to kill people in Salem and was constantly dressing up in crazy outfits to either seduce Shawn or manipulate others. It was hard work so that nomination meant a lot.
SOAPDOM: Who was the first person you told and why?
HL: My parents. They have always supported me in this career and are truly my best friends.
SOAPDOM: If you had your wish, and you could play any soap opera character ever, who would it be and why?
HL: I would love to play Kendall on "All My Children." Besides sharing curly dark hair, Kendall is as passionate as she is complicated. Unlike Jan who was just crazy, Kendall has layers that would be fun to play. And who wouldn't want Erica Kane as a mother?
SOAPDOM: Would you ever consider a return to soaps?
HL: Absolutely! I love daytime and had such an amazing experience on "Days." I 'm always looking for roles that are interesting or challenging in some way.
SOAPDOM: Anything you'd like to share with your fans from Days or ATWT?
I'm finally starting an official Heather Lindell website that will be up and running soon. They can check the site for updates and information about La Cage on Broadway!
SOAPDOM: Now, with all pleasentries aside, Tell us why we all need to rush to Broadway to see La Cage!
HL: This production of La Cage is critically acclaimed. Our star Douglas Hodge (who plays opposite Kelsey Grammar) won an Olivier award for his performance. The show itself (which has moved to Broadway from the West End) won an Olivier for best new revival of a musical. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see two huge stage stars, Doug Hodge and Kelsey Grammar. La Cage is a universal story about family and acceptance that leaves you feeling more positive about life. It's an unforgettable experience, a must see!
SOAPDOM: Thank you so much, Heather! Congrats on your wedding and on landing the role of Colette in LaCage! Many blessings.
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