Broadway and television star will share stories from her own career while sharing some of her favorite songs.
Love will be the theme this Saturday night when Broadway and television star Renée Elise Goldsberry, who won a Tony Award for her performance as Angelica Schuyler in the original cast of “Hamilton,” sings at the Southern with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra as the headliner for the group’s annual “Soiree” fundraiser.
The concert will be “a celebration of love,” Goldsberry says. “It’s not so much a romantic love party—it's more of a kind of soulful love party.” It’s an expansive theme, Goldsberry says, that allows her to tap into many genres: blues, pop, gospel, jazz and of course show tunes. “We really can just have good music from across the board.”
Giving a solo performance is not so different from playing a role, Goldsberry says—in each case, she reaches within to locate the parts of herself that she can share with the audience. “When you play a character,” she says, “you're really searching yourself to find the things that bring the character to life in a very unique way and a very signature way. And that's exactly what you do when you're doing a solo concert.
“My goal is to make sure that everyone that comes to see the show has had a great evening of music, but also leaves feeling like we got to know each other—and that that requires the ability to be as candid and as open as I possibly can about all the experiences I've had, and why I chose these songs.”
Goldsberry, who will bring a band with her to perform onstage along with the orchestra, says she first heard about ProMusica from “Hamilton” co-star Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr), who performed with the chamber orchestra in 2018. “Your reputation precedes you,” she says, referring to the orchestra.
Goldsberry grew up in Houston and Detroit; this will be her first visit to Columbus, she says, although her mother grew up in Dayton. She has a long resumé that includes recurring roles on television shows such as The Good Wife and One Life to Live, and even an early role as a backup singer on 43 episodes of Ally McBeal. On Broadway, she has performed as Nettie Harris in “The Color Purple,” Mimi Marquez in “Rent” and Nala in “The Lion King.”
This Saturday at the Southern, Goldsberry hopes to offer inspiration to the “musical theater babies” in the audience by sharing some of the ups and downs of her own career. “There's often a lot of people there that are dreaming of careers in the performing arts,” she says, “but really for anybody that's ever had a dream, it’s a wonderful thing to talk about the road and the pitfalls of getting there and really demystify all of that. I think it makes everybody's dream more accessible.”
Of course, there will be a couple of songs from “Hamilton” on the program. “I'm very proud,” she says, “of the fact that somebody like Lin-Manuel Miranda could dream something up that would bring together a group of people that could … make a lot of people fall in love with knowing their history. Claiming their history. A lot of people didn't really claim their own ownership of the history of this country. And I think Hamilton helps people to do that.”
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