Although she doesn’t look at herself as one, Syndee Winters is truly a triple threat. From dancing for the Knicks to starring as Nala in The Lion King on Broadway, this NYC native has mastered every aspect of being a successful Broadway performer. I guarantee you will be able to see into her bright future once you finish reading. Enjoy and Hakuna Matata!
MC: When did you catch the theater bug?
SW: I believe I caught the theater bug in middle school. There was a summer arts program in my town and they were doing a performance of Really Rosie by Maurice Sendak. I was cast in the role of Pierre. I was super pumped to have my own song!
Were there any performers that inspired you to become an actress?
I don’t believe that one performer inspired me specifically. I am inspired by the truth. Honest performers inspire me all the time.
You have said that your father influenced you a lot in the music department. So, were you parents supportive when you told them you wanted to go into music/show business?
My Dad was absolutely supportive when I decided to make performing my business. He gave me a tool that I needed to go out and pursue this career, tough skin.
Prior to your work on Broadway you were a dancer for the New York Knicks. How special was it performing in Madison Square Garden every night and how did performing in such a big venue benefit you as a performer?
I think performing in front of 20,000 people had quite a large impact on me as a performer. The Knicks City Dancers are a small group of very talented women. To be apart of that small group performing for thousands every night I had to make sure that all of my movement and energy was touching the person in the nosebleed seats. That experience helped me greatly as a performer.
What kind of training did you do to become a triple threat?
Triple Threat is such a funny term. I never looked at it singing, dancing, and acting as three separate things. All of my idols growing up could do all of those things and I wanted to be just like them. So, I watched a lot of music videos on MTV, I watched a whole lot of The Mickey Mouse Club and later on I studied music, dance, and drama, in high school.
How many theater auditions did you go on before you booked “Lion King”?
Quite a few.
Did you use the movie to help you prepare to play Nala?
I actually did not use the movie to prepare for Nala. I loved Nala in the movie, however, I wanted her to be a projection of my personality. So, I tried to prepare for Nala without studying the movie.
Did you approach the show or your character in a special way (because there have been quite a few other Nala’s)? How did you individualize your Nala?
I feel that Nala and I have similar personality traits; I approach her in an honest way. She is strong and she knows what she wants. Nala is a go-getter, like myself.
You say on your website that music is your ultimate passion. What kind of outlet does music provide for you that acting and dancing doesn’t?
Performing gives me great joy. Whether I am acting, dancing, or singing. All of those things involve music to me. There is a rhythm to acting that can speak truth. I am moved by the music in which emote through dancing. When I open my mouth to sing I feel every word. No one has less of an impact than another.
How do you stay healthy to perform eight shows a week to the best of your ability?
I try to have a healthy eating regiment. I practice yoga. I sleep, hydrate, ice and laugh A LOT.
Do you have a pre-show routine?
I listen to my iPod. I warm-up my voice and my body. I may pull a prank a castmate.
What’s your advice for aspiring Broadway performers?
If you can dream it, you can do it. Follow your heart and don’t stop learning!
What’s your current favorite Broadway show? (Besides Lion King!)
How about all time favorite show?
In the Heights.
Do you have a dream role?
I would love to play either Nina or Vanessa in In The Heights.