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NORWALK’S OWN LINDSAY MENDEZ WINS TONY AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Lindsay Mendez during her acceptance speech.

 

BY BRIAN HEWS

Norwalk’s own Lindsay Mendez took to the stage Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall to accept a Tony Award for her role as Carrie Pipperidge in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” on Broadway.

Mendez won Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, the top award in the industry, an award comparable to an Oscar for Best Actress.

The other nominees in the category were Ariana DeBose for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical; Renée Fleming for Carousel; Ashley Park for Mean Girls; and Diana Rigg for My Fair Lady.

Mendez joins an exclusive club of Latina Tony winners including Karen Olivo. Priscilla Lopez, Sara Ramirez , Rita Moreno, and Chita Rivera.

The daughter of former Norwalk Mayor Mike Mendez, Lindsay has gone through ten years of high profile Broadway roles including “Grease,” “Godspell,” “Wicked,” and “Significant Other.”

Mendez attended the Orange County School of the Arts, before moving to New York to pursue her career. “We always knew she would go to New York,” said her father Mike, “she wanted to be on Broadway and in the theater.”

A joyous Mendez took the stage to thank her producers, and her cast then told a story about how she was told to change her name from Mendez to Matthews “or I wouldn’t work.”

“I remember her calling me,” said her father, “I can’t do that Dad, it’s not right, besides grandma would kill me.”

Mendez finished her awards speech saying, “I want to say how proud I am to be part of a community that celebrates diversity and individuality, to all of you artists out there, be your true self and the world will take note.”

Mendez’ speech garnered a raucous standing ovation from the crowd.

After the awards, Mendez spoke at the backstage press conference, “just because you’re a minority, doesn’t mean you only have to play roles that are set to be a minority. I love getting to play this crazy Maine girl in New England — an accent I’d never thought I’d have to hone.”

Back home, the proudest of fathers, Mike Mendez could not contain his joy. “I am just so proud of her, we all are. She always wanted to be on Broadway from the very beginning, she worked very hard to get there, and now she reaches the pinnacle of her industry, I can’t be any happier.”

Mendez’ wife and Lindsay’s mother Beckie Mendez died in 2013 after battling cancer, “We all of course wish she was here, we miss her very much,” Mendez told HMG-CN. “But I know Beckie is looking down on Lindsay from heaven, jumping up and down saying ‘way to go Lindsay, way to go!’” 

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William Pridgens
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This is a great news. I am happy for her. She is a brilliant actress and singer too. I really liked her work in Carousel. It is the second musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Her portrayal of the character Carrie Pipperidge was fantastic. And her roles in Grease, Godspell, Wicked and Everyday Rapture were also good. Loved her speech and her views about minority roles. She deserved it. And her father is so proud of her. Thanks for sharing the news. Glad to know about this.