After bagging a Best Featured Actress Tony Award for her Hamilton performance, Renée Elise Goldsberry has now scored her first Emmy nomination for playing Angelica Schuyler in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical. The actor and singer tells The A.V. Club that it “is truly the gift that keeps on giving” in her life.
Hamilton arrived on Disney+ during the July 4th weekend last summer. Directed by Thomas Kail and edited together from three different performances that took place in June 2016 at Richard Rodgers Theater in New York City, Hamilton is nominated for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded). Seven cast members are nominated under the Limited Series or Movie category. “I feel like the prize is getting to reunite for the first time with my original Hamilton family,” Goldsberry says.
The last time she performed onstage as Angelica was in September 2016. “It was a two-show day, and I remember there were a lot of happy tears for me back then. I had to explain to this cast that this is how I usually say goodbye,” she recalls. Goldsberry says it was time for her to move on after being part of the show since it began in 2015. But while she left the show, she feels like the show never really left her, especially now that it’s available to stream. “That’s the beauty of Hamilton. I’m not saying this because I have an Emmy nomination for it, but just in general. I feel like I discovered it again when I watched it on TV,” Goldsberry says, especially of her solo performance of “Satisfied.”
Watching the number as an audience member shifted Goldsberry’s perspective; it was a reminder of how an entire company of people pulled off a number she usually gets credited for alone. “To watch them do such heavy lifting to tell the story, including the lighting, sound, and costume designers, I got ‘Satisfied’ in a way I hadn’t before.” She recalls her first time listening to the song was when Miranda presented a demo of it to her. “It was a total brain explosion at first, just trying to understand all the words he was saying so fast, but ingesting it happened so quickly because it’s a well-written and well-conceived song. It’s a logical argument for the decision Angelica takes.”
Through the number, Angelica has to express sorrow at her decision to give up on the love of her life, Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), because her sister Eliza (Phillipa Soo) has also fallen for him. Goldsberry enhances the song in her deeply emotional performance, singing about a desire that will never be satisfied. “Hamiton is a show about intelligent people making life-altering choices at the age of like, 21 that changed the world. With Angelica in ‘Satisfied,’ she does it all in one song and then relegates herself as the advisor for the rest of her life,” Goldsberry says. “To watch it happen so dramatically was wonderful and impactful.”
Goldsberry hasn’t been part of the Broadway musical for almost five years now, but she says she still gets happy when somebody mentions it or talks about what it means to them. It’s why the Emmy nomination is special for her. “It’s a blessing to be remembered for that role, honestly,” she says. “Art has a way of doing that. It can be more than trendy, especially this particular piece. You keep discovering new reasons why its relevant and new reasons to love it.”
Goldsberry’s other big TV production this year was Peacock’s Girls5eva, in which she gave another award-worthy performance as the diva Wickie Roy. Series creator Meredith Scardino did get nominated for writing the pilot, but did the popularity of Hamilton overshadow a critically acclaimed series? Goldsberry believes it’s a huge accomplishment just to be considered when they’re such a new show. “It makes total sense to me that the first nod goes to Meredith, she is the goose that lays the golden egg, but it speaks well for the future. We are on the right streaming platform at the right time in the right hands,” she adds, confirming that Girls5eva will begin filming season two in early fall. “They’ve been in the writer’s room for a couple of months now. I cannot wait to hear what they’ve come up with. We are always so tickled and laugh out loud when we’re on set.”
Goldsberry has broadened the scope of her work post-Hamilton, with appearances in dramas like Altered Carbon, The Good Wife, and Evil, as well as other musicals like Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Her next big role is in the upcoming Disney+ series She-Hulk as a character named Amelia. Goldsberry ventures into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the media training to not reveal anything about her role is already coming handy. While she can’t discuss any details, the actor says she’s always been a huge fan of the movies. “Like Hamilton, what I love about them is it’s family entertainment. I’m just as thrilled as my kids when I’m watching it, the storytelling works on all levels.”