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February 2024 - Cover Story: Renée Elise Goldsberry


Renée Elise Goldsberry
Renée Elise Goldsberry

Whether you know her from her four-year stint on One Life to Live, her time as a backup vocalist on the hit show Ally McBeal, or her powerful performances on Broadway in RENT and Hamilton, Renée Elise Goldsberry continues to captivate audiences with her voice, unlimited warmth, and mesmerizing presence, both on stage and on screen. On February 24th, Goldsberry will present an evening of songs and storytelling at Popejoy Hall, promising an unforgettable experience for all audiences.


Goldsberry saw acting as finite. She graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a Bachelor's Degree in Theater. She moved forward to graduate school at The University of Southern California, receiving her Master's in vocal jazz performance. "I was 8 when I knew this was what I wanted to do," shared Goldsberry. "That might be late. That's when I knew I loved putting on a show in the theater. I discovered my love of singing, well, I guess like every child in the world, when I started, as soon as I knew. Every kid loves singing and wants and thinks they'll grow up doing it professionally. But I had a cousin who used to have me sing her favorite songs for her because there was no Spotify. And so she used to say "Renee, sing "Always and Forever," anytime she wanted to hear it because otherwise she just had to wait for the radio to play it. And I have a very talented family. They're all intelligent, powerful, and smart. They have many successes in their lives. And this was the one thing that I could do that was special. It meant a lot to me. And it still does."


Goldsberry's career is nothing short of remarkable. She began on the Fox hit television show Ally McBeal as an Ikette, who performed in the local bar. It soon landed her on the legendary soap opera One Life to Live, where she played Evangeline Williamson, the bold lawyer on the series. After several movies and television appearances, Broadway came a-calling. She worked as Nala in Disney's The Lion King, Mimi in Rent, and Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, which won her a Tony Award. Goldsberry has proven her versatility and talent time and time again. When changing to television, film, or Broadway, the challenge is not the switch but the work. "I think that there's a challenge in getting a job, always," confesses Goldsberry. "Getting any job anywhere is always challenging, but the transfer of skills to do this thing that you love in the different mediums has not been a challenge for me. It's truly just getting to work on these wonderful projects. That's the miracle of it."


Renée Elise Goldsberry
Renée Elise Goldsberry

With this next job, Goldsberry is taking control of the whole show. In her solo performance at Popejoy Hall, Goldsberry will take you on a journey through her career, sharing personal stories and performing iconic Broadway songs, memorable melodies, and favorites from the Great American Songbook. Her showmanship and connection with the audience will create an all-encompassing performance that will leave you in awe. With 25 years in the business, Goldsberry has plenty of material and inspiration to put on an outstanding show. The inspiration behind it is the age-old story of a moment of opportunity. "I just got the invitation. That's where it came from," confesses Goldsberry. "Leslie Odom Jr. had left Hamilton before me, and he was…carving out this territory of recording music and doing concerts all over the country. I was invited to do a cabaret or a concert. It was a small set with just me and a piano player, and it was so hard. It took so much energy to pull it off. But I loved doing it. He [the piano player] looked at me and said, "Why don't you just start working with my management and do it in a bigger way?" We started getting invitations to come to the beautiful Popejoy theaters of this country, and I said, 'Okay, now I have to put a show together.' So, the inspiration was the invitation, and I credit Hamilton for that. All of these songs from these shows I've been in added to that music that has similarities to Hamilton - not in that it's the same style, but that it is great songs that we know and love that are good for us. I think that Hamilton is a meal that not only tastes amazing, it's good for you. I feel that there are a lot of songs across our many genres of music that have those little nuggets of gold there. So we picked out one from every genre, and we do them, we play them, and it turns into a fantastic hour and a half."


But it's not just about the music. Goldsberry's stories remind us of the beauty in living and loving. She invites the audience to join her in creating a sense of togetherness, encouraging everyone to participate in the performance by filling in different chorus parts. It's a night that will connect everyone in the room and leave you with a renewed appreciation for the power of love. Goldsberry wants the audience to feel like they experienced something special. "I want them to feel that they know me and they had, just from that time we got to spend together, as much as I could share with them about the journey that I've had, which has been awesome," says Goldsberry. "I've had the opportunity to work with some amazing people and to be part of some awesome storytelling in the world. And, you know, there've been some challenges and triumphs, and I think big things happen to all of us because we share them. So that's one thing I'd love, and, most importantly, I want them to enjoy being in the most beautiful place there is to be in the world. And that is the theater in your town, you know, listening communally with the community to great music. I want them to leave inspired by that experience."


Don't miss this incredible opportunity to witness Renée Elise Goldsberry's talent firsthand while enjoying an evening of music and storytelling.


Renée Elise Goldsberry performs on February 24th, 2024, at 7:30 pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit popejoypresents.com.

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