By Marion Filler
Ella Lindner, who will be performing as a solo artist for the first time at Morristown Onstage this month, has a hard act to follow in more ways than one.
For starters, the Morristown High School junior will be singing Crazy, the 2006 Grammy-nominated monster hit for Gnarls Barkley.
Contrary to what most people think, Gnarls Barkley is not a he, but a they — a dynamite duo of singer-songwriter CeeLo Green and producer Danger Mouse (Brian Joseph Burton).
And then there is Helena Lindner, Ella’s older sister, who performed Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from The Phantom of the Opera at Morristown OnStage in 2019.
Ella insists she won’t be competing with any of them when she enters the spotlight at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Feb. 23, 2022.
She’ll be vying with a dozen amateur performers from Morristown, Morris Township and Morris Plains for cash prizes and local bragging rights, in a benefit for the Morris School District presented by the Morris Educational Foundation.
The Lindner sisters were both very musical when they were younger. Ella started singing in the choir at their temple about a decade ago.
“We’ve done a lot of singing together and I think she definitely influenced me a little bit,” said Ella.
But that’s where the similarity stops.
“Helena is amazing. But really, we have two completely different styles. She sings more like opera and Broadway and I sing more like R & B, soul, and jazz,” said Ella. “We’ve tried to do duets on the stage, but in the end, we get really annoyed with each other.”
“Because we’re sisters and because our voices are so different and our styles are so different. It just doesn’t work so well together. I couldn’t sing the songs she sings and she’d probably say the same for me.”
Ella is a natural soloist, and fills the stage effortlessly. With a lower vocal register than her sister, and the ability to work with the convoluted rhythms and repetitions of Crazy, she has chosen the perfect vehicle for her talent.
Is show biz in her future?
“I’m not sure if it will be a career,” Ella said. “But I know that music will always be a part of my life.”
The Morris Educational Foundation presents the 15th anniversary edition of Morristown Onstage, a benefit for the Morris School District, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Feb. 23, 2022. Tickets are $35-$85. New this year: A raffle with $30,000 in cash prizes.