Hamilton Star Brings “Fearless” to St. Louis
Photography By Jacob Blickenstaff
Nearly three years after its Broadway debut, Hamilton will make its way to St. Louis for 23 performances at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Many will see the musical about America’s founding father, Alexander Hamilton, for the first time (perhaps the third or fourth time for members of the Hamilsquad!). Another hot ticket during the show’s run is to see Mandy Gonzalez, the actress currently playing the role of Alexander Hamilton’s flirtatious friend, Angelica Schuyler, on Broadway. She will perform from her new album, “Fearless,” in St. Louis for one night only on April 16 at a benefit concert at The Sheldon.
“When I wrote my contract for Hamilton I knew I would be going on tour with my new album and would need certain nights off [from the New York Broadway production]. Some people take vacations to Jamaica but I’m using my vacation days to go on the road with this album,” Gonzalez says.
In terms of mastering the concept of time– in addition to her Broadway role, Gonzales continues to fit television roles in her schedule, including working at The White House on CBS’ Madam Secretary– Gonzalez refers to her family’s work ethic as her inspiration and quite simply, “just the way we do things.” Her grandmother was a migrant worker and Gonzalez’s mother also worked full-time while taking care of the family. Gonzalez explores her Mexican and Jewish roots in the title song of her debut album, “Fearless.” Gonzalez shares a tender story about “fearing less,” and how her mother met her father after the two were PenPals during the Vietnam War.
“My mom would write these letters to soldiers. And one day a soldier who she had corresponded with for more than a year came to her door after falling in love through these letters the two had written,” Gonzalez explains of the inspiration for her song. The lyrics and melody came from a call Gonzalez feared making to her “dear friend” she calls Lin-Manuel [Miranda].
“You know he [Miranda] is kind of busy so I was afraid to make this call to ask him to write a song for me and he asked me what I feared and so part of this is about actually fearing less [fear-less],” says Gonzalez. The two became close after she starred in Miranda’s show, In The Heights, and many years later of course, Hamilton. While Gonzalez won’t be singing Hamilton songs at The Sheldon when she performs, she will sing “Breathe” from In The Heights and tunes from her role as Elphaba in Wicked, in addition to her songs from “Fearless.”
To take a line from Hamilton, we asked her for “three fundamental truths (about her adult self) at the exact same time. One of the truths is her “amazing support system” of family, friends and her #FearlessSquad, “a community of empowerment for people to work together and live their dreams.”
Gonzalez’s husband, Douglas Melini, is one of her strongest supporters. Philip Slein of Philip Slein Gallery in the Central West End says Melini is “one of the hottest artists in New York right now.” Slein has three of Melini’s pieces in his gallery. But it was actually at one of Melini’s shows in New York where Gianna Jacobson, the publisher of december magazine, convinced Gonzalez to headline a benefit concert in St. Louis for the critically-acclaimed national literary publication, headquartered in our backyard. We’re ecstatic Broadway is giving Gonzalez the night off for this special concert.
*Tickets to see Mandy Gonzalez perform from her “Fearless” tour are available at decembermag.org or metrotix.com. Hamilton tickets are no longer available through The Fox Theatre box office or MetroTix. Additional seats may be made available for sale closer to the engagement as will a lottery.