Oswego, N.Y. — Rachel Leotta, a SUNY Oswego theater major, will perform a pre-recorded vocal duet Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. with musical theater star Mandy Gonzalez. The livestream show opens the college’s Artswego performing arts season and is available free to all at tickets.oswego.edu.
Gonzalez played Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton” before Broadway went dark. She previously created the role of Nina Rosario in the Tony-Award winning “In the Heights” and played the starring role of Elphaba in “Wicked.” Television viewers will recognize her as Lucy Knox from the CBS hit TV series “Madam Secretary.”
A versatile artist, Gonzalez has written a Harvard Business Review article on how to overcome the fear of public speaking and build confidence.1/4 u202fShe is the founder of #FearlessSquad — a social media movement for inclusiveness and belonging. She will present a virtual master class and participate in discussions with students during the college’s annual African, Latino, Asian and Latin American Leadership Conference. ALANA’s event is being held virtually from Sept. 23 to 30.
Leotta, an Oswego native, was invited to sing “For Good” by music faculty voice professor Alan Martin.
“He asked me if I knew the song, which is from ‘Wicked,’ and I told him I did. Then, I didn’t hear anything for a while,” Leotta said. “I was beyond thrilled and excited when Professor Martin later told me the reason he asked was that I’d been selected to perform with Mandy Gonzalez.”
Leotta sings the part of good witch Glinda; she recorded her voice Sept. 15 so that Gonzalez, the more experienced performer, could work out the complicated timing when she adds her voice as Elphaba.
“Usually, when singing a duet, I look the other person in the face and we can synchronize our tone and rhythm,” Leotta said. “This was a whole new experience.”
Leotta made her debut at 5 singing in the children’s chorus of “Carousel” with the Oswego Opera Theater. On campus, she has participated in the theater club, Blackfriars, and has played roles in “Fun Home” and other shows. She’s working on marketing for the college production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and has co-produced a podcast with a classmate. As a member of the SUNY Oswego Women’s Choir, she is recording her part of “Hallelujah” to be combined with other students’ recordings and released to the college community later this fall.
Having started her studies at a different college, Leotta transferred back home to Oswego where, she says, “There is an amazing faculty that provides solid education and real encouragement.” Scheduled to graduate in 2022, she says she’s not sure where or even in what venue, but wherever life takes her, she will be on stage. “I’ll be acting,” she said. “I’ve always known that.”
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