Award-winning artist Renée Elise Goldsberry, well known for her portrayal of Angelica Schuyler in Broadway’s Hamilton, graced the stage Saturday evening at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts as the finale of the university’s annual benefit, ARTS by George!
The event was part of the university’s annual showcase of talent from George Mason students, ranging from computer graphic design, to dance, film, musical theater, instrumental ensembles, and more. The funds raised support student scholarships in the arts at George Mason University. Laura Mertens, marketing manager; Camille Cintron Devlin, PR and communications; event co-chairs Anne Bolger and Steven Golsch; and Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Rick Davis all deserve applause for hosting this massive event held in a variety of buildings and stages on the Fairfax campus. The evening did not disappoint for its organization, hospitality, and welcoming atmosphere for patrons and guests.
Renée Elise Goldsberry, known as a powerhouse for her role in Hamilton alone, performed what she told the audience were songs from her original 2017 tour. She opened with a lovely rendition of “On a Clear Day,” from the 1965 musical of the same name, which became the 1970 movie starring Barbra Streisand. The singer also sang a medley of songs from Sweet Honey in the Rock, the all-female African-American gospel ensemble. She also delivered a sassy rendition of the song “Bye-Bye” from the Peter Gunn soundtrack written by Henry Mancini, originally performed by jazz icon Sarah Vaughn. Another highlight was “Without You,” from Jonathan Larsen’s Rent, the musical in which Goldsberry played the character of Mimi on Broadway.
All of the song selections showed off Goldsberry’s incredible versatility and range, but, as she herself said, “If I want to get out of here alive with all of these musical theater people in these seats, I better sing from the Broadway shows I have been in!” To the delight of the audience, she did just that, asking the audience for help with supporting vocals as she featured her show-stopping renditions of “Satisfied” and “The Schuyler Sisters” from Lin Manuel-Miranda’s 2016 smash hit, Hamilton.
Renée Elise Goldsberry expressed her gratitude about being invited to perform at an event that was created to support the performing arts, and how important it is to support the arts, the artists, and their craft. As she mentioned, “to every performer who has stood in front of a mirror in their bedroom with a brush in their hand, pretending it was a microphone” (including this reviewer), we need the arts to make life work.
Renée Elise Goldsberry in Concert played one night only on September 30, 2023, at George Mason University, Center for the Arts Concert Hall, 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax, VA. The concert was 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.
For complete information about ARTS by George!, including scholarship stories, a schedule of student showcases, previous ARTS by George! images, and more, visit the event website. To learn about upcoming performances at George Mason University, click here.
Jordan Peters, Music Director, Guitar
Addison Frei, Keyboard/Piano
Kenneth Salters, Drums
Jeff Hanley, Bass
Kristina Nicole Miller, Tasha Michelle, Adee David, backing vocals
Stage and TV star Renée Elise Goldsberry on her upcoming concert at GMU (interview by Nicole Hertvik, September 13, 2023)