Curtain Call

Merrily We Roll Along’s Lindsay Mendez Takes Bustle Backstage

The actor was nominated for a Tony Award, as were co-stars Jonathan Groff and Daniel Radcliffe.

Morning sickness and matinees don’t exactly go hand-in-hand, but Lindsay Mendez is making it work. The Broadway actor was well into her tenure as Mary in the revival of Merrily We Roll Along when she announced she was pregnant with her second child. And although she shot a TV series while carrying her first, live theater presented a whole new set of challenges.

“My first trimester was really tough because my morning sickness was all-day-and-night sickness, but I have little remedies. Ginger, things like that,” says Mendez, who landed a Tony Award nomination for the role. She credits her castmates, Jonathan Groff and Daniel Radcliffe, as her true aces in the hole.

“Usually Dan and Jon knew if I was feeling really bad, depending on how sweaty my palms were or if I grabbed them a certain way. I [would be] like, ‘I might need to exit [the stage] for a minute,’” says Mendez, who won a Tony for 2018’s Carousel revival. “But they were so great, and we’re just getting through it.”

Merrily centers on a trio of artistically inclined best friends, who, over the course of 20 years, allow their ambitions to triumph over their friendship. To hear Mendez tell it, the actors’ offstage dynamic resembles their characters in the earlier, happier days. They’ve grown so close, in fact, that when Mendez got married this month, Groff officiated the ceremony and Radcliffe served as ring bearer.

Bruce Glikas/WireImage/Getty Images

“It’s just a very easy, very familial feeling between the three of us. Our dressing rooms are all together on one side of the stage, so we’re always together,” she says. In the half hour before curtain call, they’ll all gather in Mendez’s dressing room. “I have to get a wig on and makeup on, and the boys don’t, so they come to my room and we just sit and connect on our days.”

With the show closing in July, it’s these private, personal moments with Radcliffe and Groff that she’ll hold close — rather than the agony of performing through her first trimester. “We enjoy each other so much, but once we get into the show, we can’t really do that,” the actor explains. “So that time [before call] is just for us to check in with each other and do a lot of laughing.”

Below, Mendez reflects on napping, Goldfish, and her new favorite foundation.

Jonathan Groff, Lindsay Mendez, and Daniel Radcliffe all earned Tony nominations for Merrily.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Bruce Glikas/WireImage/Getty Images
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On her favorite celebrity beauty brand:

I’d never tried this makeup before, but they gave it to me for this show, and I really like it. It’s Lady Gaga’s brand, Haus Labs. I use her foundation and powder, and it’s really great.

On midshow sugar:

During intermission, I sit with my feet up, and usually I eat a snack, something I can look forward to during Act I, like a little cookie or some fruit. I also always have Goldfish and fruit snacks in my [dressing] room for my daughter. My daughter comes to the theater a couple of times a week, so now I mainly have snacks for her.

On preparing her pipes:

I’ve always tried to use whatever show I’m doing to warm up [my voice]. So I’m usually singing the overture, and [with Merrily,] I sing with the ensemble at the beginning of the show from offstage to warm up. Then I luckily get to start by screaming and ranting like a crazy, drunk person, so that also gets me there.

On the ritual getting her through her pregnancy:

Between shows, I always take a nap. Especially now that I’m pregnant. I have a lovely little couch in my room that I nap on, and I’d say I take probably about an hour nap between shows. I have to, or I’ll die.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.