My Way Speaker Series Kicks Off At Frank Sinatra School of the Arts
The FSSA My Way Speaker Series will be a monthly guest speaker series featuring individuals who have excelled in the arts, sports or academia. During the series, each guest will be interviewed by the department head teacher from the corresponding studio to offer an invaluable opportunity for students to hear firsthand the success story of a person who has been able to realize their potential and create their dream job. Mandy Gonzalez was the first speaker in the series. The events will be open to the public.
Gonzalez is best known for her roles as Angelica Schuyler in the hit Broadway musical, “Hamilton,” Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “In The Heights,” and Elphaba in the Broadway production of “Wicked.”
Gonzalez gave strong advice for life and the theater to the gathered students in attendance. The students asked all of the questions. In a moment of personal candor and respect for her parents, Gonzalez said that her mother advised her that in her life’s journey, traveling there— wherever “there” is—will have no trail. The path is made by walking it. Thus she urged the students not to fear the new roads that may be available to them. “As long as it is safe and legal, try it,” she suggested. Gonzalez also spoke about never giving up, and how she often has five auditions a week. One student asked, “How do you sit in a room with so many beautiful, talented individuals and not doubt yourself and wonder how you can compete in such a setting?” Gonzalez said that every day one can feel uncertainty and doubt, but that you cannot give up. You must believe in yourself and keep trying. She received a huge standing ovation and the students seemed impressed with her answers.—Tony Barsamian