We continue our series on finalists in Morristown Onstage 2019:
By Marion Filler
So far, the third time is the charm for Helena Lindner.
“I’m definitely a little nervous, but I’m so excited. I tried out two times before this and I didn’t get in,” said Lindner, one of 15 finalists who will compete for cash and glory in Morristown Onstage on Feb. 27, 2019.
A soaring soprano voice and a passion for Broadway musicals led the Hunterdon Prep junior to choose Wishing You Were Here Again for her performance.
That number from Phantom of the Opera edged out Somewhere from West Side Story, which would have involved accompanying herself on piano.
The haunting lyrics from Wishing were not what attracted her.
“The words have meaning, but for me it’s the song and how it feels vocally. For me, it fits like a glove,” says the Morristown resident.
More than 50 acts auditioned for this 12th edition of Morristown Onstage, which aims to top last year’s record of $143,000 raised for programs in the Morris School District. Organized by the Morris Educational Foundation, the competition is open to amateur performers who live, work or study in Morristown, Morris Township or Morris Plains, and to graduates of Morristown High School.
The Great White Way started Lindner on her way.
“I love going to shows and love live theater,” she says. “Broadway was a spark for me. Last year I really started getting into Broadway and now for birthdays, I only ask for tickets.”
She’s not the only musical member of her family.
“My Dad was a drummer in a metal band in high school. My Mom can’t sing at all. But my sister Ella, 14, got the part of Grace in Annie for the Frelinghuysen School musical this year.”
Lindner has been studying music since about the 6th grade, though her interest began before then. She got early coaching from Leslie Adler, director of the Springfield Community Children’s Chorus. Lindner describes Adler as “amazing.”
Making the cut for Morristown Onstage is a victory of another kind for the aspiring singer.
“Her appearance in the show speaks to so much more than talent,” says her mother, Hillary Lindner. She is proud of Helena’s resilience in overcoming bouts of depression from her middle school days.
“Music has really propelled her to where she is now. But it certainly hasn’t been an easy road,” the mom says.
Helena Lindner takes voice and piano lessons with private teachers, and sings in six concerts each year at Hunterdon Prep.
Nothing, however, comes close to the challenge that awaits her on the big stage at the 1,300-seat Mayo Performing Arts Center. Her parents and sister will be there rooting for her, along with grandparents, aunts, and friends.
The first time Lindner auditioned for the show she was in the 6th grade, without much training. When her second try fell short, she just dug in harder and worked on her voice for a few years.
Her persistence paid off. Now she’s going for the $1,000 jackpot.
Fifteen top amateur acts from Greater Morristown will compete for cash and glory in the 12th annual Morristown Onstage, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Tickets: $29-$79. Proceeds benefit the Morris Educational Foundation. Call 973-539-8008.