Beyond the Stage with Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez
Co-produced and co-edited by Maria Brito in collaboration with Peter Koloff
The first time I saw Mandy Gonzalez in Hamilton, I was enthralled. It’s about 15 minutes into the show, and it is the first moment where she is at the center of the stage, flanked by her two “sister-characters:” Peggy and Eliza. Her features and demeanor are undeniably Latin, and at almost 5’9,” her poise and voice elevate her above the rest. Mandy is giving life to Angelica Schuyler, a woman whose friendship with Alexander Hamilton was very complex: they were extremely close on an intellectual level, even romantic on the emotional side of things, but he ended up marrying her sister Eliza. One could say they truly took their love to their graves.
But Mandy is so much more than her Hamilton role. Not only is she a Broadway actress, but also a mother and wife, a celebrated singer (whose nickname in the industry is “The Beast” for her extraordinary ability to hit every note with passion and perfection), an activist who started the #FearlessSquad movement on social media and she appears on CBS’s “Madame Secretary” as Lucy Knox. Her new eight-track album “Fearless,” with music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bill Sherman and Jennifer Nettles, has gotten me playing “Starts Right Now” on auto-repeat. It’s a song about the persistence and resilience of human beings, and our innate ability to rebuild and lift ourselves up time and again in the face of adversity. The entire album is in fact a layered portrayal of the strength of human spirit, no matter the circumstances. I chatted with Mandy in her dressing room at the historical Richard Rodgers Theatre, right before the hair and makeup team arrives and she once again takes over that stage to boldly declare: “And when I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’ma compel him to include women in the sequel…”