Zena Hinds is attending New York University to study theater. Press Democrat photo by Jeff Kan Lee


At New York University, Zena Hinds of Petaluma has Greenwich Village as a campus — an ideal habitat for a young artist who who dreams of one day performing on Broadway.
Hinds, 18, graduated from Sonoma Academy and is now studying music and theater at NYU. She’s been singing and dancing since she was 6 and she knows success on the stage takes a lot of hard work.
Although once a shy kid, she got a comfortable start at Sonoma Academy’s theater program, which was small and not so intimidating. She thrived there and began seriously considering a career in the performing arts.
Then, a recent performance in the musical “Rent” at Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse clinched it for her.
“By the time I was in ‘Rent,’ I was like, yeah, this is what I want to do,” she said.
Hinds was born and raised in Petaluma. She attended elementary school and middle school in Marin County and high school at Sonoma Academy. She likes English and history more than math and science.
When she was younger, Hinds used to do compete in rhythmic gymnastics, where the athlete/performer uses items such as hoops, balls or ribbons in a routine.
She stopped competing so that she could concentrate on theater. But for a time, she volunteered as an assistant coach.
Her other volunteer work includes raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that mobilizes performers and producers across the country to raise money for AIDS research and awareness.
Much of her fundraising for the organization was done in conjunction with her school performances, and Hinds was able to raise more than $1,000 for the organization.
She’s seen a lot of theater locally and in San Francisco. While visiting campuses in New York, Hinds took in a few shows on Broadway, including “The Book of Mormon.”
Over the years, she’s seen a number of shows, including “Godspell,” “Next to Normal,” “Spring Awakening,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “Les Misérables.” But “Rent” was the first show she really fell in love with.
She applied to a lot of theater schools and had to do nearly a dozen auditions. At NYU, she had to sing two songs, perform two monologues and execute a dance routine that she had to learn the very day of the audition.
On Youtube, you can catch quite a few of Hinds’ numbers from her senior recital at http://www.youtube.com/user/1zrae.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com.

Zena Hinds
Age: 18
Birthplace: Petaluma
Lives with: NYU dorm
What’s in her iPod: Musicals such as “West Side Story,” “Les Misérables,” “Next to Normal,” “Rent”
Favorite hobby: Aside from signing and dancing she likes to read. Recent books include “Game of Thrones, A Visit from the Goon Squad.”
Dream job: A lead on Broadway
Favorite movie: “Dirty Dancing” (the old one.)
Favorite food: Popcorn.