Renée Elise Goldsberry, best known for playing Angelica Schuyler in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton — a role that won her a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy — has amassed a lifetime of successes on stage and screen: from lauded Broadway performances in The Lion King, Rent, and Hamilton, to major roles on popular TV shows including Ally McBeal, The Good Wife, and most recently, Girls5Eva. And anyone who has heard her belting, jazz-inflected voice knows she is a master vocalist.
But more than a singer, TV performer, or theater performer, Goldsberry considers herself a storyteller.
“I call myself a storyteller because that term best encompasses my goals,” Goldsberry shared during a recent phone interview. “Throughout my entire life, my goals have been to tell stories of human beings, Americans, women, and Black women, in whatever I do.”
Goldsberry’s upcoming concert appearance on September 30 as part of George Mason University’s ARTS by George! benefit event will reflect the breadth and diversity of her talents. The concert will feature songs by artists as varied as Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan, great jazz and pop vocalists, and the theater tunes that made her a Broadway icon, including songs from Hamilton, Rent, and The Lion King. In a wink and a nod to her standout solo number from Hamilton, Goldsberry jokes, “Everyone will leave the show feeling ‘Satisfied.’ ”
Goldberry has been touring with her band since 2017, refining and evolving a 90-minute set that she hopes will feel like a huge party for audiences.
One of the best things about the success of Hamilton, Goldsberry says, is that it opened up opportunities for her to connect with audiences who shared her love for the show. “Hamilton started off as inaccessible to most people [who couldn’t get to NYC or afford tickets]. It’s beautiful that it is everywhere now. I love to feel like I’m part of the tradition of opening the show to the world.”
Goldsberry brings her concert to the DC region on the heels of her first return to a New York theater production since Hamilton. At the Public Theater last month, she took on the lead role of Prospero in a musical adaptation of The Tempest.
Goldsberry feels a deep connection to the Public Theater, which she credits for first putting her on the radar of a young Lin-Manuel Miranda when she performed in a 2005 production of Two Gentlemen of Verona. Returning to the Public Theater for The Tempest allowed her to work with the theater’s Public Works Program, which brings together a handful of professional performers to work with NYC residents who often have no theater experience at all.
“The result is a thrilling and exhausting community-building adventure,” Goldsberry says. “By the end of the run, the entire company felt like family.” Most exciting for Goldsberry was the fact that her two children were in the ensemble. “It was the first time in my life that I didn’t have to choose between the two passions in my life!”
GMU’s ARTS by George! benefit event isn’t the only charitable work Goldsberry has been championing lately. She credits the Hamilton team, and the Miranda family, for modeling the importance of using their visibility to contribute to the world in a positive way. Goldsberry recently visited Puerto Rico in a fundraising effort with Lin-Manuel Miranda, his father Luis Miranda, and other members of the original Hamilton cast, the first such reunion of original cast members since 2017. “Being a part of the Hamilton family and being able to participate in these efforts is a gift,” the actress says.
Goldsberry’s decades-long television career is also keeping her busy. Since 2021, she has starred in Girls5Eva, a musical comedy in which Goldsberry plays a member of a one-hit-wonder girl band trying to get its mojo back. Other Broadway luminaries appearing on the show include Sarah Bareilles, Ashley Park, and Andrew Rannells. Girls5Eva aired on Peacock for two seasons. The third season, picked up by Netflix, has been filmed and will air when the current Hollywood writers and actors strike concludes.
In the meantime, Goldsberry is having a ball touring the country with her band, a team she has performed with since 2017 at numerous events like the September 30 ARTS by George! benefit event. We “blow the roof off!” at every performance, she says.
Renée Elise Goldsberry in Concert plays one night only on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at 8:30 PM at George Mason University, Center for the Arts Concert Hall, 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax, VA. For tickets ($55-$105), go online. A limited number of free tickets are available to George Mason University students.
The concert is part of George Mason University’s annual ARTS by George! benefit event supporting student scholarships at the College of Visual & Performing Arts, the Mason Community Arts Academy, Green Machine Ensembles, and the Great Performances at Mason season at the Center for the Arts.
Jordan Peters, Music Director, Guitar
Addison Frei, Keyboard/Piano
Kenneth Salters, Drums
Jeff Hanley, Bass
Kristina Nicole Miller, Tasha Michelle, Adee David, backing vocals
Renée Elise Goldsberry in Hamilton