Linedy Genao, the 31 year-old Dominican American star of the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Bad Cinderella, currently at the Imperial Theater, started preparing for the role the day she was cast. “Almost an entire year before our first day of rehearsal,” Genao says. She still takes weekly voice lessons with a voice teacher, Joan Lader, in New York and with Webber’s London-based vocal coach, Fiona McDougal.
The truth is, explains Genao, with this first Broadway leading role, “the vocal stamina of this show is no joke.” It’s certainly more vocal stamina than her job, post-college, working at a private Lebanese bank, here in New York. She left after landing a role in the ensemble of On Your Feet, a Cinderella story of its own.
Bad Cinderella, retooled after a London run, is a campy, over-the-top spin on the classic fairy tale. Everyone is beautiful in the kingdom of Belleville, and Cinderella, here, just finds that completely annoying. She also finds herself in love with a somewhat nerdy Prince Sebastian who equally finds Belleville’s superficiality unsatisfying.
“I love that in our version of this fairytale, Cinderella does what’s best for her,” Genao says. “She doesn’t leave with the prince or need a man to fulfill or support her. She leaves on her own in search of a better life and in search of what makes her happy.”
Genao has gotten into a daily pre-show routine, which includes LED candles, her air purifier, a cup of ginger tea and the occasional episode of Succession in the background. (“It’s my favorite new obsession,” she says.) Oh, and she’s learning to trust herself more, both on and off-stage.
“Andrew has been a dream to work with,” says Geneo of Lloyd Webber. “He’s been so encouraging, consistently vocal with me about what he loves that I do, how proud he is of me, supporting me to sing the song however feels best to me.”
So, she adds, “if Andrew Lloyd Webber believes in me and trusts me, why shouldn’t I trust myself?”
Plus, she doesn’t need a glass slipper or a ball gown for that.