Renée Elise Goldsberry is an American actress, singer and songwriter, known for originating the role of Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway musical Hamilton, for which she won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Her other Broadway credits include Nettie Harris in the original Broadway cast of The Color Purple, Mimi Márquez in Rent, and Nala in The Lion King. She has portrayed many roles on television, including Geneva Pine on The Good Wife, and Evangeline Williamson on One Life to Live, for which she received two Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nominations.
Goldsberry was born in San Jose, California and raised in both Houston, Texas and Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Cranbrook Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, she attended Carnegie Mellon University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater, in 1993. She subsequently attended graduate school at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, where she received a Master of Music in jazz studies, graduating in 1997.
Between 1997 and 2002, Goldsberry had a recurring role on the Fox legal comedy-drama Ally McBeal, as one of the back-up singers who frequently accompanied Vonda Shepard's performances. She appeared in a total of 43 episodes prior to the series' cancellation. Goldsberry also carried the role over into a 3-episode guest appearance on the spin-off series Ally.
Goldsberry portrayed attorney Evangeline Williamson on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live from 2003 until 2007. She was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2004 for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, and won a Soap Opera Digest Award in 2005 with co-stars Michael Easton and Melissa Archer. Goldsberry was nominated for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in both 2006 and 2007 for the role. After she left One Life to Live, Goldsberry held a recurring role as assistant state attorney Geneva Pine on the CBS political drama The Good Wife, appearing multiple times every season throughout its run. She ultimately appeared in 23 episodes between 2010 and the series end in 2016. Goldsberry has also made guest appearances on series such as Star Trek: Enterprise, Royal Pains, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Younger, Masters of Sex, and That 80's Show.
In 2018, Goldsberry will star in the Netflix science fiction series Altered Carbon as Quellcrist Falconer. That same year, she will also star as Henrietta Lacks in the HBO television film adaptation of Rebecca Skloot's nonfiction work, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which will also feature Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne in the cast.
In 2001, Goldsberry had the lead role of Nicole Taylor in the romantic comedy All About You, for which her performance was praised. She also portrayed Drea Smalls in the 2008 action film Pistol Whipped, and small supporting roles as Cynthia Barnes in the crime drama Every Secret Thing (2014) and Kim in the comedy Sisters (2015).
Goldsberry played a replacement Nala in the Broadway production of The Lion King, and was in the cast of the United States national tour of Dreamgirls.
She was nominated for a Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance, and won a New York magazine Best of 2005 Award, for her performance as Sylvia in the 2005 Shakespeare in the Park revival of Two Gentlemen of Verona. Goldsberry later originated the role of Nettie Harris in The Color Purple, the Broadway musical adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel of the same name. She starred in the production from November 2005 to January 2006.
Goldsberry returned to the Off-Broadway stage in The Baker's Wife in 2007, before taking over the role of Mimi Márquez in the Broadway musical Rent, making her the final actress to play the role on Broadway. Rent's last performance was filmed and made into a DVD, Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway, which also aired as a television film. In 2011, she was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Kate Dillon in the Broadway production of David Lindsay-Abaire's play Good People. She went on to appear in off-Broadway productions of Love's Labour's Lost and As You Like It, and appeared in I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road at Encores!.
Goldsberry originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, playing her last performance in the role on September 3, 2016. For her work in the production, she won a 2015 Drama Desk Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, and the 2016 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. In addition, as a member of the principal cast, she also received a Grammy Award after the original cast album won Best Musical Theater Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
Goldsberry has had a lengthy singing and songwriting career, co-writing and performing more than half the soundtrack to the 2001 film All About You, including the title song. She was also the grand prize winner of the 1997 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her rock music. Goldsberry wrote and recorded an album titled Everything But the Kitchen Sink (2001) and an EP titled Beautiful (2006).
In October 2015, she appeared at the BET Hip Hop Awards, where she was one of two women to rap in the Cypher.
In 2002, Goldsberry married New York attorney Alexis Johnson. In May 2009, she gave birth to their first child, a son named Benjamin Johnson. In 2014, she and her husband adopted a second child, a daughter from Africa. Her name is Brielle.