When singer and actress Mandy Gonzalez kicks off Adelphi University Performing Arts Center’s 10th-anniversary season on Friday, Feb. 2, she will have already formed a relationship with much of her audience.
Maybe some were lucky enough to see her as the clever, spirited Angelica Schuyler in the megahit Broadway musical “Hamilton” or as Nina Rosario, the hardworking good girl of “In the Heights.” Others may look forward to tuning in each week to watch her as presidential aide Lucy Knox on CBS’ “Madam Secretary.”
But the fans who know Gonzalez primarily as #FearlessSquadMother have developed a mutual and particularly meaningful connection with the versatile superstar.
“There are a lot of people from #FearlessSquad at my shows,” says the 39-year-old performer, who developed the on-the-rise social media movement as a vehicle for its followers to “hold each other up” and celebrate those who support them unconditionally. Squad members are known to often thank her personally for creating the campaign at the autograph-signing meet-and-greets after her performances. “I know them by their Twitter and Instagram handles, but then I get to find out their true names,” she says.
The members of Gonzalez’s original “squad” figure prominently when she’s onstage. “It is the story of my life through song,” she says of the intimate evening, which includes plenty of talking, laughing and crying, too.
Close friend and Broadway giant Lin-Manuel Miranda contributes two songs to her Adelphi concert roster. “ ‘Breathe,’ which I did 10 years ago in ‘In the Heights’ at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, represents where I’ve been,” she explains, “and ‘Fearless’ represents where I am going.” The title track of her recently released album conceived by Miranda as an anthem for Gonzalez’s social-media community, also tells the unlikely story of how her mother, a Jewish Californian from the valley, and her father, a Mexican-American migrant worker, met and fell in love.
Gonzalez will also pay homage to another of her key squad members by performing “In These Shoes,” the Afro-Cuban jazz cover by Bette Midler. Gonzalez got her break when she was 19, leaving California for New York to audition as a backup singer for the Divine Miss M’s tour. “She put me up with her at the Plaza Hotel for two weeks. And now, 17 years later, we’ve only been a block a part from each other,” says Gonzalez, noting Midler’s recent star turn in “Hello, Dolly!” around the corner from the Richard Rodgers Theatre, home to “Hamilton.”
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Asked what she enjoys most about her current role as Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law, Gonzalez says, “I love that she is protective of her sisters, that she is the eldest and wisest. I love her honesty. But most of all, I love feeling ‘Satisfied’ every night.” Attendees of her concert are sure to be, too.
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, Adelphi University Performing Arts Center, 1 South Ave., Garden City
INFO $10-$45; 516-877-4000, pac.adelphi.edu
‘BEYOND BEAUTIFUL’ AT TILLES CENTER
WHAT She gave them the soundtrack of their youth, and in 1960, singer-songwriter Carole King asked the baby boomer generation, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” More than five decades later, affection for the artist and her music continues to resonate, notably in the Broadway hit musical “Beautiful” celebrating her life and career. To be sure, lyrics written by the “Natural Woman” songstress may never be more on point, as audiences are sure to find in “Beyond Beautiful,” a performance of King’s sterling playlist at Tilles Center featuring top vocal and musical talents (including King’s grandson, guitarist Dillon Kondor) assembled by Tony Award-winning music director and conductor Ted Sperling.
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, Tilles Center, Brookville
INFO $49 to $79; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com