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Big-Voiced Mandy Gonzalez Shakes, Sizzles, Rocks and Rolls in Electrifying 54 Below Debut

Big-Voiced Mandy Gonzalez Shakes, Sizzles, Rocks and Rolls in Electrifying 54 Below Debut
Mandy Gonzalez
This was one of the best 54 Below shows we've seen yet.

If you only knew Mandy Gonzalez from her turns as sweet Nina in In the Heights or vengeful Elphaba in Wicked, you probably wouldn’t be ready for the fun, sexy party girl who took (and owned) the stage at 54 Below on December 4 for this Broadway vet’s cabaret debut. Decked out in tight black leather leggings, a sequin top and hair as big as her belting voice, Gonzalez tore through songs like Prince’s “Kiss,” Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation” and the Joe Tex funk song “I Gotcha” that Liza Minnelli made famous with a soaring voice and personality to spare. Her Broadway career was well represented with a crazy-high “Defying Gravity,” her Heights solo “Breathe” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” which she first sang in the 2002 stinker Dance of the Vampires (talented musical director Brian Nash filled in for Michael Crawford!). There were also tender stories about her father and her childhood, but the show never felt over-written or over-thought (kudos to director Eric Michael Gillett). I’ve spent many unforgettable nights at 54 Below with the electric stars of Broadway, but this was one of the very best.

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