‘Hamilton’ star Renée Elise Goldsberry has a date with the Pops

Renée Elise Goldsberry.
Justin Bettman
Renée Elise Goldsberry.

In 2011, actress and singer Renée Elise Goldsberry originated the role of the stylish Kate in the Broadway production of Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People.” Near the end of its two-month run, she says, she had a conversation with fellow cast member Tate Donovan, who remarked that they’d never get to be a part of something so beautiful and important again. “I remember him saying that, and thinking ‘Oh my goodness, what if you’re right?’” says Goldsberry over the phone.

As anyone who’s paid the slightest bit of attention to theater, watched late-night TV, or logged into Twitter in the past three years knows, Goldsberry didn’t stop there. Wearing a voluminous pink dress, she twirled, rapped, and harmonized her way to stardom in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s revolutionary hip-hop musical “Hamilton.” In the minds of a generation, she became synonymous with Miranda’s interpretation of the brainy, fierce, and loyal Angelica Schuyler.

Since leaving “Hamilton” in 2016, she’s taken the title role in HBO’s feature adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” She can also be seen springing into action as Quellcrist Falconer in the Netflix sci-fi series “Altered Carbon.”


But she hasn’t left music behind; next week, Goldsberry joins Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for a run of concerts Tuesday through Thursday, replacing fellow “Hamilton” alum Leslie Odom Jr., who canceled because of conflicts with a film project. She’ll be performing songs from shows she’s appeared in, and her “Hamilton” onstage sister, Phillipa Soo, will join her for part of the program. Expect to be “Satisfied.”

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Q. What was it like being a part of “Hamilton” as a performer?

A. At times I felt like, “How does this happen to me? I don’t think that I deserve this experience.” It can be a little daunting, actually. There’s a house full of people that did all kinds of crazy things to get into that room and see the show. When it’s my song, your experience is in my hands. How can I live up to that? So that was daunting, and an awesome responsibility. And it was really wonderful to learn how to rise to that, and how to forgive yourself if you felt like you blew it, and to receive — and I continue to receive — so much love from people that love the show.

Q. You were the last Mimi in the original Broadway run of “Rent.” The “Rent” fan community before “Hamilton,” that might have been the most devoted online fan community for a Broadway show. So you’ve been in two shows with extremely dedicated fan communities. Do you see any major differences between the two?

A. What I recognize in “Hamilton” that’s distinct from so many things I’ve been in is that it’s hard to label the demographic. Not that it’s easy to do that with “Rent,” but unlike anything I’ve been in, you could be 90 years old or 9 months old and love “Hamilton.” You can love theater, you can hate theater. You can love history, you can hate history. You can be a college kid, you could be a single mom, you could be anything and love “Hamilton.” There is no set of facts about you that would make me think “Oh, you might not like it.” 


Q. Do you ever look at the fan communities online? Like, what was it like the first time you saw there’s fan art of you?

A. I was interviewing with another young man from Boston a couple days ago, and he told me that he had a whole business that started from making “Hamilton” fan art, and he hadn’t even seen the show yet. We know that art inspires other art.

I had a suite of dressing rooms with Phillipa Soo, who’s singing with me with the Boston Pops, and Jasmine Cephas Jones, for “Hamilton” on Broadway. And we wallpapered the entire thing with fan art. With beautiful pictures of Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy, and Maria Reynolds, as conceived by so many people. So many wonderful expressions of appreciation for the characters in the musical.

Q. How did the success of “Hamilton” affect your life outside the theater?

A. I had the good fortune of meeting a lot of people that I was huge fans of, who are now “Hamilton” fans. It’s really wonderful to get to meet someone when they also love your work. It is mind-blowing to meet someone you admire so much that has seen your work and been moved by something you did.


Also, I went to Comic-Con in Brazil in the middle of the year, and there were people that came out to celebrate our sci-fi television show, who had “Hamilton” posters and books for me to sign, and were very excited about meeting Angelica Schuyler, and they didn’t speak English and had never seen “Hamilton.” So it’s really far-reaching and it’s constantly affecting my life. 

‘Unlike anything I’ve been in, you could be 90 years old or 9 months old and love “Hamilton.” ’

Q. So whatever you do for the next foreseeable length of time, “Hamilton” is going to be following you.

A. I hope so! I tend to keep my expectations really low. So far I get a lot of love, and the show gets a lot of love, more importantly, because I think it’s really good for you. Its messages are really positive and true, and I can’t say that about everything, so I hope that people keep tuning in, and humming along to it.


With Renée Elise Goldsberry and Phillipa Soo

June 12-14, 8 p.m., Symphony Hall. Tickets $37-$126, 888-266-1200,

Interview has been edited and condensed. Zoë Madonna can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @knitandlisten.