Editor's Note: Kicks presents 20Q, a feature that introduces readers to people involved in the area's arts and entertainment community. Compiled by kicks Editor Greg Little, each piece includes a short bio, photo and answers to questions that provide insight into not only that person's artistic interests but also his or her personality.
Lexi Ganong, a junior at Janesville Craig High School, enjoys all things theater. She recently played the role of Maria in Parker/Craig's cooperative musical, “West Side Story,” and has been seen in such Rock River Rep productions as “Miss Saigon” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” She has performed in previous Craig productions, playing Sarah Brown in “Guys and Dolls” and Emma Carew in “Jekyll and Hyde.” Along with being a competitive dancer for 12 years, Lexi also was named the United Arts Alliance's first “Emerging Star” and is a five-time returning member of Wisconsin State Honors Choir. She is an honors student who is ranked No. 1 in her class, and she has earned numerous vocal and dance awards and scholarships. When not on stage, Lexi lives with her dad and mom, Steve and Lindsay, and her furry sister, Rainy.
1. When did you first discover your ability to sing? When I was in second grade, I auditioned for a musical at The Fireside (in Fort Atkinson). Even though I barely knew what was going on, I was cast in the children's ensemble.
2. Do you have any rituals you follow before you perform? Before I go on stage, I really have to take time to focus on what I'm about to do. I try not to think too hard about specific scenes or notes I have to hit, because that will only make me nervous. I mostly concentrate on becoming my character and trying to tell the audience a story. Of course, I also drink lots of water.
3. Share something adults do that they think is cool but isn't? I would have to say posting selfies on the Internet. I know we young people post a lot of them, but it just seems funny to me when an adult does it.
4. Kanye West: musical genius or self-important fool? To be honest, I really haven't listened to a lot of his music, so maybe there's some musical genius hidden in there that I don't know about. But rap is not my favorite in the first place, and he seems pretty full of himself, so I'd have to say self-important fool.
5. If you had to give up modern technology (cell phones, remote controls, DVRs, etc.), which would be the hardest to live without? My cellphone, for sure. I use it as a computer, iPod, notebook, calendar, mirror, flashlight, camera and form of entertainment. Even some of my classroom books are accessible through my phone.
6. Have you ever been embarrassed while performing? Actually, no. Whoops, did I just jinx myself?
7. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go? Ireland, because I'd love to see the castles and landscapes and kiss the Blarney Stone.
8. Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Twitter is my favorite because it makes me laugh so much. I can't post as many pictures as I do on Instagram, but some of the crazy viral videos and other things people post really brighten my day.
9. Have you ever cried over a movie? Definitely. Probably too many to count. Some really bad ones that come to mind are “The Notebook,” “Ghost,” “Marley & Me,” “Safe Haven,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Up” … basically, if a deep connection is made between two characters and then someone dies, it's a given that I'm going to be a mess.
10. Share something people would be surprised to find out about you: My dream hobby would be to flip houses.
11. Do you have a mentor/mentors who has/have helped advance your singing career? Gretch and Mark Hladish were instrumental influences in my early singing years and are still strong supporters of me today. Jim Tropp and Adam Miller have provided me with opportunities I will forever be grateful for, and Traci Schneider has been my vocal coach all through middle and high school. She has helped me sculpt my voice and has encouraged me to come out of my shell. I love her and know I wouldn't be where I am today without her.
12. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Easy—mint chocolate chip. It has to be in a cone. The simplicity of it is so refreshing, and it's good on a hot summer day.
13. What is your favorite song to perform? This is a hard one, but I'd have to say “In His Eyes” from Jekyll & Hyde. I got to sing it with my best friend, Jessica Minter, and I usually got chills when we were in the middle of performing it ourselves.
14. What does the quote “youth is wasted on the young” mean to you? To me, I think it means all the opportunities and freedoms kids have nowadays aren't used to our full potential. Older people wish they could have their youth back because, if they had it to do over, they wouldn't waste a second of it.
15. What is your favorite way to kill time? If it's a shorter amount of time, I usually (sadly, I know) check my social media and other things on my phone. But if I have a whole day free, then I love to shop, hang with my friends or do various projects around our new house while singing whatever song pops into my head.
16. Do you have your driver's license? Should everyone be worried? I do have my driver's license, and no, I don't think anyone should be worried. I honestly feel like I am a good, safe driver.
17. What type of music do you enjoy listening to? I listen to a very wide variety of music. My favorite artist of all time is Michael Buble. I always say his voice is so smooth it sounds like melted butter. There's no other way to describe it. His style and the way he takes other people's songs and makes them his own is my favorite thing in the world. But I also really like Queen, Beyonce and a plethora of showtunes. (And yes, Mom, I like Manilow, too.)
18. What is your ultimate goal in the performing arts? That's not set in stone yet. I know I want to go to school for the performing arts, and being on Broadway would be pretty cool, but maybe I also want to become the female Michael Buble. I don't know.
19. You can perform in any Broadway play. Which do you choose? If I could be in any musical, I would transform into a man to play Lola in “Kinky Boots.” Drag queens are just the embodiment of the extreme femininity that women wish they could have, and I would do anything to be able to play one. They're so fabulous.
20. What advice can you offer someone who enjoys singing, but is too shy to do it publicly? If you love it enough, it's worth a try. Being on stage and singing is a completely different feeling than just singing around a small group of people. I would rather sing in front of 1,000 people than sing alone with two. You can almost get in your own little world on stage and take a step out of life for a minute, or however long you're singing. You never know—you really could grow to love the feeling you get when you perform.