February 2022 - COVER STORY: Syndee Winters and Disney Princess: The Concert at Popejoy Hall
The sight of little girls in princess dresses will bring the biggest smile to even the grumpiest individual. It is always magical when Popejoy Hall brings the Princess Concert to the stage time and time again. Syndee Winters, a fan of Albuquerque, is no stranger to the Disney repertoire. She has voiced a queen, a Motown legend, and a Schuyler Sister. While Winters has appeared in many award-winning musicals like The Lion King, Motown the Musical, Hamilton, and Pippin, if you asked her if the road to Broadway was a childhood dream, you might be surprised with the answer. "When I was growing up, someone asked me, 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' I said I want to be a singer," shared Winters. I never had thoughts about being on Broadway, but when I heard The Lion King for the first time, I loved the music. I was obsessed with the music. I bought my first tape, my first sing-along tape with the accompanying booklet!" Needless to say, when Winters heard about auditions for the upcoming Broadway show, she knew she had to take part. ”When the musical on Broadway came out, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I want to see this!’ I want to perform. I auditioned for the show in 2008 and didn't get a callback. I auditioned three years later and landed the role of Nala in the national tour of the Lion King. Then I made my Broadway debut as Nala."
Winters was born in New York but raised in Miami. She is of Chinese, Jamaican, and Cuban descent, but all American. With such a diverse background, Winters feels representation is necessary on stage to show our youth that they can do it, too. "I am so lucky to have the life that I had. But if I go back and look at my 15-year career and my 10-years of shows, like The Lion King, my first, that I am in a predominantly Black cast and that to me, I was already spoiled," says Winters. "I'm surrounded by the most beautiful people, doing the most beautiful art form. The next show is Motown the Musical on Broadway. There you have it again! I'm a part of a legacy of Motown music that created a generation. Motown music is what brought people together. I'm so proud to be a part of that project. Hamilton: An American Musical - clearly it is a cast of color. We all get to share the American story, our way, through the lens of hip-hop, R&B, soul, gospel, and Jazz. I'm very fortunate. I'm so glad to be a part of this type of cast and it means a lot to me to be a part of shows that have a special and strong message.”
This time around, her career brings her back to the Popejoy stage with Disney Princesses - The Concert taking place on March 10th. Winters is excited to perform the music of Disney, associated with the legendary princesses, live on stage. "Disney Princesses The Concert is a love letter to all of the courageous and kind women in Disney history," expressed Winters. "You have Belle, Mulan, Pocahontas, Tiana, Nala, and Ariel. All of the classic Disney princesses will be present within this particular show. We have a 40 foot LED screen sharing the most iconic scenes from an All-Star lineup of Broadway. The original Princess Belle, Susan Egan, will be there. Also, Anneliese van der Pol, the final Belle in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, and you know her from That's So Raven. We have Arielle Jacobs, who played Princess Jasmine in Aladdin on Broadway, and myself. We also have Benjamin Ramala, who is our magical musical director. His arrangements are the ones you are going to hear when you come to the show, and they are just spectacular!”
When it comes to what the audience will feel after seeing the show, Winters shared her goal. “For parents, having a fierce nostalgic moment, remembering where they were when they heard Reflection. I want them to remember where they were when they heard Colors of the Wind and watch their child sing along to Almost There and songs from Frozen. Also, looking forward to all the princesses that will come dressed up!"
To learn more about Disney Princess - The Concert at Popejoy Presents or purchase tickets visit https://www.popejoypresents.com/events/detail/disney-princess-the-concert.