Today, Idina visited her former high school in Syosset. Miriam was kind enough to write up a review of the event to share with everyone! Thanks Miriam!
After a red eye to New York yesterday morning and concert in New Jersey last night, Idina came and paid a long awaited visit to her alma mater, Syosset High School. Idina came and did an hour and half Q & A session with about 150 students of the choir and the forensics debate team.
The excited group of students arrived in the band room for Idina’s 10am arrival to find out that she was stuck in traffic. Everyone waited anxiously for her. The school had setup a projector to play an old VHS of Idina in the senior class musical of Carousel. The current choir teacher was in that show with her as a student and we proceeded to watch clips of her while we waited.
Idina arrived at 10:45 and they showed the video again. She seemed to be a little embarrassed by it, but she did talk a bit about her classical training and how she used to be a high soprano. And how that changed when she became a wedding singer.
She was asked a range of different questions that included the typical ones of “what is your favorite role?” and “what advice can you give to young actors?” to questions about growing up in Syosset. She talked about how the Arts at Syosset impacted her a lot as a student as well as her experience as a wedding singer. I was really excited when she mentioned “Salad Time” when asked about her days as a wedding singer. She was asked a lot of questions about what she thought of other people playing her roles which I thought was interesting. She answered those questions by talking about getting into character and development and how the two experiences are very different.
Someone asked if she’d like to be on Private Practice. I almost jumped out of my seat. Idina couldn’t remember if she had been on it once or twice (twice, right? (Jill’s note – yep, two episodes!)). But said that she remembers feeling out of place there because it’s Taye’s turf. She said she felt the same way when he did Wicked. Her exact words were “It’s my f-ing show” and all the high schoolers laughed that she cursed.
During the course of the Q & A I asked Idina three questions. I asked her what qualities she likes and does not like about stage managers. She said she likes when the stage manager stands up for the actors, and explained that they are both in AEA for that reason. She says that she understands that SMs need to “suck up to the director” a certain amount in order to get gigs but doesn’t like when it’s obvious. She also said that it’s very important to understand acting and directing. She doesn’t like when stage managers try to direct or give notes without knowing the techniques of directing.
The other two questions I asked were not as substantial. I asked her to talk about A BroaderWay which she said is looking for kids now for the program in August. And I asked her what it’s like to sing her own backup vocals on her albums. She said that it’s a different art, having to listen to the tracks and harmonize with her own voice. She also said that is saves money not hiring people, but that she can’t really make herself sound like a gospel singer even though she tries.
Some of the teachers asked her to sing so she sang Embraceable You and her verse from For Good that she often does at concerts. Both pieces she did a capella which was pretty awesome. The teachers wanted to bring out the piano but it was easy to tell that she was tired and didn’t really want to. She was a trouper and really impressive. I couldn’t get any videos because she asked for no videos to be taken. I do have photos.
After she sang For Good, she signed things for people but didn’t take pictures. A couple of kids gave her letters etc. She was very gracious. The school did a little video interview for the district I don’t know what they do with it. I introduced myself and she signed the poster for the event. I made the posters so that was pretty cool. She brought some things including the old t-shirts she used to sell, copies of all three CDs, Wicked Grimmeries’, and soundtracks, and signed them for the forensics team to use for raffle prizes in future fundraisers.
An old choir teacher of hers from middle school was there and she was very happy to see her. She showed her the picture of Walker that is on the background of her phone and I caught a glimpse of it, he is so cute!
Overall it was very fun.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings :)
Pictures are in the gallery! Just click on one of the images below to view more: