Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and where you grew up!
My name is Linedy Genao. I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised most of my life in Hamden, Connecticut. My family is from the Dominican Republic, and anyone who knows me knows how proud I am of my culture! I rep DR all day every day, haha.
Where did you go to school and what did you major in?
I went to the University of Connecticut and graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration! I worked in banking for about five years before my dream came true! I hope to never have to go back to banking again, haha!
Did you always have a passion for theatre?
I've always had a passion for music and singing because I come from a very musical family. However, I didn't discover theater and my love for the theater until about high school. I had an incredible theater teacher who saw my potential and pushed me to be the best that I could be. I always told stories through my singing, but didn't know that one could do the same thing with dancing and acting, all at the same time! I was hooked and knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!
Why did you not pursue a performing career at first?
I didn't pursue a career in theater at first because I didn't think I was good enough. I applied to the "top schools" that I knew of at the time, and since I didn't get into any of their musical theater program, I took it as a sign that it wasn't meant to be. I then chose to pursue a more "steady" career path in business. If only I could've foreseen that it doesn't matter what school you go to, or if you even go to school for theater. You can always pursue your dreams!
What was your experience with On Your Feet like? From thinking about auditioning, to getting the call, to hitting the step 8 shows a week!
On Your Feet was an incredible experience! My dream came true! My story is kind of crazy amazing. I went to the open call for the developmental lab of the show. For anyone who doesn't know what that means, just like I didn't, an open call is where anyone and everyone that wants to audition, professional or not, goes. Think of it like an American Idol audition. There can sometimes be hundreds of people at open calls, just hoping for the chance to be seen. Then, a developmental lab is where shows literally get put on their feet. They hire singers, dancers and actors to create and make come to life what's written on the page. So, I went to the open call, with a head-shot that was a selfie taken on an iPhone 4 and printed at Walgreens. I was SO embarrassed to submit my head-shot because mine looked exactly like what it was, while everyone else's was professionally done and beautiful.
I auditioned and then received three callbacks for the ensemble and to understudy the lead role of Gloria Estefan. At that time, I didn't know that callbacks were a good thing. I kept thinking to myself, "why do they keep calling me back? Why do I have to sing the same music and do the same scenes again? How differently can I do them? I don't know what to do!" I literally had a panic attack the second to last callback because I didn't know how else I could sing these songs or do these scenes any differently than before. The casting director was so sweet and calmed me down. He assured me that this was all good and that they called me back because they loved me and wanted to see more of me. I went in there and probably had the worst audition of my life since I was so nervous and shaking, but they called me back AGAIN after that. Once I went to that final callback, I knew that I had to be on my A game and show them my all. They saw me at my worst and had to call me back again since they knew it was just because I was so nervous, right? So I knew that this time, I couldn't be nervous again. I went in there and gave it my all and got the call that I booked the role!
The developmental lab was incredible. We literally created the show from beginning to end, and so many of the things we created in that rehearsal studio back in 2014 live on today, in every single production of On Your Feet all over the world. Every single one of us that were in the lab received the offer for our out of town tryout in Chicago, and then our Broadway run. It was a dream come true! I literally went from banking to Broadway in the blink of an eye! I was the baby of the group, and of course, the most inexperienced, but everyone held me under their wings and taught me everything that I know today. I had to learn from how to bevel, to how to do theater makeup, and so much more.
Doing eight shows a week was probably one of the most challenging parts, but the most thrilling. I had to learn how to take care of my body, mind and soul--something I never had to do while banking. The stamina and health you have to maintain is no joke. From voice lessons, to acupuncture, to massages, to yoga, and so much more. It takes much discipline and determination to maintain yourself for the show's schedule. It was an experience of a lifetime that I wouldn't trade for the world!
What advice do you have for those who are thinking of pursuing a career as a performer?
Some advice I would give to anyone pursuing a career as a performer would be to never give up. I know that sounds cliche, but it's the truth. When one door closes, that's okay! Immerse yourself in your community and all that it has to offer. You don't have to go to school or study theater to become a performer, you can learn through experience. I performed in every community chorus I could, and in every community theater show that provided me with the opportunity. There are so many free programs out there that can help you gain the experience you need, so take advantage of them!
What are 5 things that you are grateful for right now?
Five things I am grateful for right now are:
Waking up today
Being able to live my dream
The love and support of my family
Kayla for letting me share a little of my story with you all!