Renée Elise Goldsberry talks all about her upcoming performance at the annual ARTS by George! Benefit, the impact of “Hamilton” and more.
George Mason University’s annual ARTS by George! Benefit continues its tradition of bringing the best Broadway has to offer to the Center for the Arts stage, with Tony Award-winning Renée Elise Goldsberry headlining the night on Sept. 30.
The singer and actress is also an Emmy and Grammy winner, and is best known for originating the role of Angelica Schuyler in the mega-popular Broadway hit, “Hamilton.”
ARTS by George! serves as a fundraiser benefiting student scholarships at George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Mason Community Arts Academy, Green Machine Ensembles and the Center’s Great Performances at Mason season.
Helping the arts is a cause near and dear to Goldsberry.
“It’s always wonderful to support institutions because we desperately need them,” she says. “Any time I can show up and support the great work of educating the masses, and help it continue, it’s wonderful to meet the patrons who want to help and entertain them.”
The benefit will begin with a showcase of Mason students, and a buffet dinner and drinks are included, with Goldsberry’s performance capping the event.
“I have a concert that I have been doing since 2017, and I have a great band that I sing with, so when I got the invitation, I was excited to come and perform my show,” she says. “We have a really fun rhythm section, piano, bass and drums, guitar and three outstanding background singers.”
Expect to hear Broadway hits and American songbook classics, and she promises “Hamilton” fans will not be disappointed.
“We have wonderful arrangements of a wide variety of music; songs people know and love and about every genre of music that people can think of,” Goldsberry says. “The first half of the show will be a wonderful celebration of songs with the theme of love, and we end the show with songs from the shows I am known for.”
She also will spend time between songs telling stories, bringing audience members closer to what the selections mean to her.
“I think it’s important that if you’re going to spend the evening with me, you leave feeling like we know each other, so I definitely share as much as myself as possible,” Goldsberry says. “It’s a chance for me to share really wonderful adventures I had in my career and personal life.”
Over her career, Goldsberry has also graced the Broadway stage in “The Color Purple,” “Lion King” and “Rent” and she currently stars in Peacock’s “Girls5eva,” which will have its third season released sometime this year. This past summer, she starred in “The Tempest” in the annual Shakespeare in Central Park, playing a female version of Prospero. This was extra special for her, because her children were able to be part of the cast.
“This was also special because it marks the end of the Delacorte Theater as we know it; they are going to close and renovate it over the next few years,” she says. “It’s one of the most magical places to perform.”
Goldsberry loves telling stories, whether it’s in a play, concert, on TV or through original music on an album.
“The reason I do so many different kinds of things—from Shakespeare to Aretha Franklin songs—is because they all fall under the category of storytelling,” she says.
Even though Goldsberry had a promising career on TV and on the stage prior to “Hamilton,” the musical phenomenon obviously was a game-changer.
“We had this great opportunity to give birth to something we all consider was extremely important, and that is the work itself,” she says. “It’s a beautiful piece and changed a lot of people’s lives because it’s such a great chronicling of the influence Alexander Hamilton had, as well as the forefathers and foremothers of our country. To give voice to them, most importantly through the mastery of Lin-Manuel Miranda, was a great gift.”
And while she knows things can change in an instant, Goldsberry isn’t ready to commit to a return to Broadway now as she raises her children, but shares that in this ever-changing industry, she could be back on stage at any time, it just depends on the opportunity.
ARTS by George! will take place on September 30th at the deLaski Performing Arts Building. Tickets are available for starting at $350 and include a donation to the Arts at Mason.
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