Why Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry Nearly Turned Down The Chance To Audition For Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Musical

Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton (2020)

Years after its debut, Hamilton is still the gift that keeps on giving. Whether it’s the filmed version or the show's continuous Broadway run, fans can still indulge in the phenomenon one way or another. Of course, the original cast has moved on to better things. Viewers don’t need to look further than Girls5eva’s Renée Elise Goldsberry to see the musical’s success. But things could’ve gone differently for Goldsberry had she turned down the audition for Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical as she'd planned to.

By the time Renée Elise Goldsberry broke through as Angelica Schuyler, she was already a Broadway veteran with plenty of experience under her belt. Goldsberry had been in notable productions on the Great White Way such as The Lion King, The Color Purple and Rent. But though Carnegie-trained actress was no stranger to the stage, Hamilton struck her as being a different kind of beast:

Given Hamilton’s hip-hop-meets-show tunes appeal, Renee Elise Goldsberry didn’t see herself being a part of the soon-to-be smash hit. The actress recently spoke to InStyle about the moment she nearly passed up the audition:

Hamilton came into my life via an email. It was just a mass email to actors in the area. Angelica Schuyler, they were looking for a Nicki Minaj type to come in for a new rap/hip-hop musical, and I just disregarded it immediately because I thought I’m too old.

So in that moment, the Broadway vet felt the role was meant for someone younger. But given the description she was sent through that mass email, you might be skeptical too. So the actress needed to be convinced by her manager to listen to a demo of her character’s rap. Begrudgingly, she decided to listen and was blown away:

When I heard that rap, my brain literally exploded. Fuck… fuck. It was like this seismic change of what you can do in theater and storytelling – and I’m getting emotional telling this story – and then I said 'fuck' again. … I showed up to the audition the next morning, and before I made it home, they said I got the job.

Having learned Angelica Schuyler’s rap overnight, Renée Elise Goldsberry hit the signature number “Satisfied” out of the ballpark. Of course, the rest is history, as Goldsberry went on to win the Tony for Featured Actress in a Musical. The actress managed to tap into her character without sacrificing musicality. And even now, viewers still can't help but see Angelica Schuyler whenever they watch Goldsberry.

Fans of the musical don’t have to look too far if they want to see Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler once more. You can watch the original cast perform those signature musical moments as Hamilton is currently streaming on Disney+.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).