I was the host for the luminous Mandy Gonzalez, who plays Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway production of Hamilton, at the annual Sardi’s luncheon of the American Theatre Critics Association today, and got to ask her a question at the podium.
Mandy Gonzalez portrayed Elphaba in “Wicked” on Broadway, originated the role of Nina Rosario in “In The Heights,” and now she raps all week as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, (a role she took over on September 6th.) Can’t this woman get a break?
Seriously, Mandy paid her dues, for example working as a coat check attendant when she first moved to New York from California. But you know that voice was going to get her places. It’s so powerful that her fans call her The Beast (at least I hope that’s why they call her that!) In any case, you’ll be able to hear that voice in the comfort of your home when she releases her first solo CD next year.
Here was my question:
You sang back-up for Bette Midler, worked as stand-by for Idina Menzel in Aida, and have now starred in both hit Broadway shows by Lin-Manuel Miranda. What’s the most useful lesson you learned from each of these three?
From Bette Midler — that a woman at the top still works so hard, and that she maintains her artistic integrity, surrounding herself with people whom she trusts. It was a heady lesson for me when I was 19 years old.
From Idina Menzel — Her generosity. She works very hard too, which is why I didn’t perform the role for three months. When I did, she sent me a lovely note.
From Lin-Manuel Miranda — His loyalty. He surrounds himself with family, with people he grew up with.
I also asked her whether she had ever rapped before. She said no, “but I’m a fan of rap.” She said director Thomas Kail was very helpful during the month she was given to learn the part.
Mandy Gonzalez guest role in The Good Wife
Mandy Gonzalez performs “Breathe” from In The Heights
Mandy Gonzalez and Christopher Jackson sing When You’re Home from In The Heights as part of the #Ham4Ham mini-concerts around the Hamilton lotteries.
Nine months later, she moved behind those doors.