Mandy Gonzalez is one of those Broadway actresses with a number of dedicated fans and followers, and it’s easy to see why given her sunny disposition that lit up the (virtual) room in this episode of The Seth Concert Series. She is still contracted to the Broadway production of Hamilton, where she has played the role of Angelica Schuyler Church since September 2016, though the audience was treated to a rendering of ‘You’ll Be Back’, ordinarily performed (as fans of the show will know) by King George III. Gonzalez promptly put on a crown for the number, which delighted the audience – judging by the comments in the ‘chat’ function – and at the risk of sounding unnecessarily sour, it’s a slight pity there wasn’t a sceptre to hand as well.
Gonzalez had, to her credit, a number of items to show at the appropriate moment, including a baseball cap from the opening night of the Broadway run of In The Heights and some gifts from her time as Elphaba in Wicked. I rather liked the inclusion of ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’, written by Joe Raposo and made famous by Kermit the Frog – the idea of wanting to be a colour other than green fits well with the character of Elphaba. There were other tunes from outside the world of musical theatre: an alternative rendering of ‘Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)’ was delightful, even if not to everyone’s taste, as was ‘Born To Run’, made famous by Bruce Springsteen, included here as a nod to Gonzalez being a New Jersey resident. The latter number technically has been on Broadway, included in a 2017-18 concert residency called Springsteen on Broadway, though this version was still a significant departure to the version that still gets radio airplay decades after its initial release.
There were the usual stories about on-stage mishaps, including a set malfunction during a performance of Wicked, but these were frankly overshadowed by two other conversations. The first was about a breast cancer diagnosis. Gonzalez had surgery in November 2019, which was a success, and as the cancer was detected relatively early, she has since supported campaigns to make breast screening services available to all women. The second was about a children’s book series called ‘Fearless’, in which a twelve-year-old character, Monica Garcia, arrives in New York City, having moved there to work on a Broadway show as a child actor.
Gonzalez was also in the Broadway run of Dance of the Vampires. Including the Act Two opener, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ felt especially poignant less than a week after the show’s composer and lyricist, Jim Steinman, died of kidney failure. I wasn’t the only one who found it remarkable that such powerhouse vocals were emanating from someone sitting down for the whole concert. Overall, a positive and passionate performance.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Mandy Gonzalez possesses one of the most powerful and versatile contemporary voices of our time. Currently starring in the megahit Hamilton as Angelica Schuyler, Mandy also originated and starred as Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, In The Heights, for which she received a Drama Desk Award. She has starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked (Broadway.com Award for Best Replacement). Other Broadway roles include Princess Amneris in the Elton John and Tim Rice musical, Aida, and Lennon, where she portrayed Beatles icon John Lennon. Mandy made her Broadway debut in Jim Steinman’s Dance of the Vampires, starring opposite Michael Crawford. She received an OBIE Award and for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli’s Comin’, directed by Diane Paulus, and based on the music and lyrics of singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. On television Mandy appears in the recurring role of Lucy Knox on the hit CBS drama, Madam Secretary, starred as Agent Susan Combs on the hit series Quantico, and in many guest appearances including Doubt, White Collar, The Good Wife, among others. Equally at home on the big and small screen, she has appeared in the films Across the Universe, directed by Julie Taymor, After starring opposite Pablo Schreiber, and Man on a Ledge with Sam Worthington. Mandy can also be heard as the voice of Mei in Disney’s Mulan 2.
MANDY GONZALEZ with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, April 25th – Live at 3PM ET and Rebroadcast at 8PM ET