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Princeton resident reunites with fellow Mouseketeers to record holiday album

Princeton resident reunites with fellow Mouseketeers to record holiday album
Seventeen former Mouseketeers recorded "Why? Because It's Christmas."

One of “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club” cast members from the 1990s has reunited with her fellow Mouseketeers to record a special holiday album.

“Why? Because It’s Christmas” features Princeton resident Lindsey Alley, along with 17 ‘Teers who recorded 15 holiday classics.

The Disney stars from all seven seasons reunited 30 years later. Recorded during the height of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the album will be released on Nov. 27.

The group is donating a portion of the gross proceeds to two organizations that support those extremely affected by COVID-19. MusiCares provides critical assistance to members of the music community in times of need. The Brave of Heart Fund provides much needed financial support to the families of frontline healthcare workers and volunteers who lost their lives due to COVID-19.

“Music has such a unique ability to heal and unify us, and we are so grateful for our position to continue to support music creators and professionals in these uncertain times. The direct impact we have been able to make on our music community during the pandemic would not be possible without the generosity of partners like Always In The Club,” said Laura Segura, executive director of MusiCares, in the statement.

“We are grateful to Always in the Club for its efforts to raise awareness for the Brave of Heart Fund,” Holly Welch Stubbing, president and CEO of E4E Relief, said in the statement. “Contributions like this one will allow the fund to support even more families of fallen healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic as they navigate their unimaginable losses.”

Aside from Alley, the singers are Rhona Bennett, Deedee Magno Hall, Tony Lucca, Nikki DeLoach, Dale Godboldo, Chasen Hampton, Tasha Danner, David Kater, Jason “Blain” Carson, Jennifer McGill, Mylin Brooks-Stoddard, Raquel “Roque” Herring, Nita Young, Jason Minor, TJ Fantini and Marc Worden.

Alley moved to Princeton in the summer of 2019 with her husband and young son; they had moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., from Los Angeles the year prior, and after living in a basement apartment for nearly a year, decided they needed a bit more space, she said in an interview with Newspaper Media Group/Packet Media LLC.

“We looked at a lot of towns in New Jersey and New York, but Princeton just felt ‘right’ to us. And we also found the perfect house, so it all made sense. We hadn’t been here too long before COVID hit, but it still gave us plenty of time to find our favorite spots and meet some great new friends.

“We love our walks along the D&R Canal, in Palmer Square and through the Princeton University campus. We have spent a lot of time playing at Marquand Park. And nothing beats a meal at Mistral or Mediterra, followed by a scoop from the Bent Spoon,” she said.

Alley said she watched a lot of movie musicals as a child and remembers saying to her mother, “I can do that,” she recalled.

“She took me to an audition for ‘The Sound of Music’ at a dinner theater in my hometown of Lakeland, Fla. I landed the role of Gretl and I have been working in the theater ever since,” she said.

Reflecting on her days as a Mouseketeer, she said, “doing what I loved to do with such wonderfully talented people was pure joy. And there’s just no way of paying for that kind of learning experience, you know?”

Alley has starred on stage in “First Wives Club, the Musical,” and in TV shows, movies and theatrical productions. She has had roles in “How I Met Your Mother,” “Lethal Weapon” and her critically acclaimed one-woman show, “Blood, Sweat & Mouseketears!” on Broadway.

“Choosing a favorite project is impossible. Every project I have been involved in has been a gift in one way or another. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done some bad shows. But I would classify those as learning experiences.

“If I had to play favorites, I would say ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ has had the most profound impact on my life. Learning to river dance for a role in ‘Legally Blonde’ was the hardest thing I have ever done. And doing my one-woman show, ‘Blood, Sweat and Mouseketeers’ is the most cathartic ongoing process,” she said.

Alley is currently working on a new club act/one-woman show called “After Ever After.”

“It’s mostly about being a mom. About marriage and family and friends. Juggling real life with my show business hopes and dreams. I obviously need a better elevator pitch, but that, too, is a work in progress. I’m hoping to bring something to a local stage when it is safe to be back indoors,” she said.

That being said, COVID definitely affected the recording process of “Why? Because It’s Christmas.”

“The process was pretty hilarious. I had never recorded anything from home before, so there was a lot of trial and error. Lots of starts and stops. I started recording in a refrigerator box (that we saved for our son’s playroom) in the basement. But my vocals were ultimately drowned out by a family of very loud crickets.

“I moved my setup upstairs to a small closet and everything seemed to be going well until one of our producers asked to see my ‘studio’ via FaceTime.

“I gave him a quick tour and he confirmed my sound was still off, as I had been singing into the back of the microphone. Whoops.

“We got there in the end, but it was definitely a process! I’m actually so grateful to have gone through everything, as I now feel like I could record my own little album from the hall closet,” she said.

Calling her fellow Mouseketeers “some of my most favorite people on the planet,” Alley said they all picked up where they left off.

“To be a part of a project like this with them … during a global pandemic, and for three great charities, gave me all the feels including joy, hope and pride, to name a few. Creating this album together, yet apart, was an honor and a privilege,” she said.

She was also delighted to record a Christmas album.

“Christmas is my favorite time of year. If I could start decorating in September without the neighbors raising an eyebrow, I would.

“My favorite Christmas songs of all time are Nat King Cole’s ‘The Christmas Song,’ Bing Crosby’s ‘I’ll Be Home Christmas’ and Judy Garland’s ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’

“When I hear those folks singing those songs, all is right in the world. And when I have had a hard day, I immediately go to my Pandora Christmas station for a fix. Christmas music is a balm for challenging times,” she said.

Alley’s Christmas memories include her dad risking his life to hang a giant star on the chimney, singing “Silent Night” at Christmas Eve church and her mom’s shoepeg corn casserole.

“Christmas is my favorite. And while this year is going to be hard being away from our families, my husband and I are going to try to start some new traditions with our 3-year old son. Like decorating a bit too early.

“We are trying not to focus on all the things that are missing, but rather on all we have right here and right now. Because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that every single day counts,” she said.

“Why? Because It’s Christmas” will be released by Always In The Club/M12/Universal and is available for pre-order at www.MMCHolidays.com. The album will be available as a commemorative holiday CD and as a digital download.

The 17 ‘Teers will come together digitally for a virtual record release party that same day, which will be streamed live on M12.tv.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@newspapermediagroup.com