“I wanted to make sure I could live up to the comedy chops,” confesses Renée Elise Goldsberry about her role in the new Tina Fey-produced series “Girls5eva.” She continues, “Not only with the women I was on screen with but the women who were producing and writing the show.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
In the Peacock comedy, Goldsberry stars alongside Sara Bareilles, Paula Pell and Busy Philipps. The girls make up a one-hit girls group from the 90s (called ‘Girls5eva’), who are trying to make a career comeback. It combines sharp dialog with absurd musical numbers and fun 90s flashbacks.
Goldsberry plays Wikie, the ‘fierce’ one of the group, who is self-involved and believes she is entitled to greatness. It is a huge departure from the selfless Angelica Schuyler that the actress won a Tony for playing in “Hamilton.” The actress says, “There’s a fine line to be likable in a character that is so self-absorbed and oblivious to the women that are around her. We even have jokes where she can’t remember Paula Pell’s character name when they’ve been in a group for decades.”
Ironically, to play Wikie, Goldsberry reveals that “the first thing you have to do is believe that we are not fighting for the spotlight. The spotlight is big enough for all of us. The bigger I support the other women in the spotlight, the better I’m going to look. Whatever light I shine on me is for me; it’s a lie. My work has always been done lifting up. It worked for me in “Hamilton,” and it worked in “Girls5eva.” What you see is chemistry. Chemistry means there is electricity in this relationship. It’s born in my belief of how down I am for you and how honored I am to share this space.”
From singing on Broadway to this sitcom she admits, “It’s more freeing if I’m not singing necessarily to sound good. The first time I burst into song is in the pilot episode is when I’m talking about what I’m owed. I’m not singing in that moment to do anything other than express this stunted paralyzed ambition in me. It’s ironic because the character is so vain, but it’s not singing for the sake of vanity. It is an expression that overflows out of an emotion. I feel like I’ve had a lot of practice doing that in the theatre and it serves me well playing Wikie.”
Goldsberry will be on the Emmy ballot this summer as Best Comedy Actress for her new show. She will also be eligible as Best Movie/Limited Supporting Actress for the Disney+ production of “Hamilton.”
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