Oswego student earns opportunity to duet with Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez

SUNY Oswego senior theatre major Rachel Leotta will be featured in a virtual duet with Broadway star and recording artist Mandy Gonzalez as part of a free online concert at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29. She is pictured performing in the college musical “Fun Home” in spring 2019.

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego senior theatre major Rachel Leotta will be featured in a virtual duet with Broadway star and recording artist Mandy Gonzalez as part of a free online concert at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29.

The virtual performance is part of the college’s annual Artswego Performing Arts Series and the ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Latin American) Student Leadership Conference.

Gonzalez has starred in “Hamilton,” “In The Heights” and “Wicked” on Broadway, and also has a hit album “Fearless” to her credit. The special virtual performance, an exclusive concert as part of the Artswego series, is titled “More Than Fearless.”

Leotta was offered the opportunity in late August. The slot, which has opened new doors to her, was brought to her attention by SUNY Oswego music faculty member Alan Martin, who has served as Leotta’s voice professor.

Leotta, who hails from Oswego, recorded her vocal part separately on Sept. 15.

A life of performing

The first show she ever did was when she was five years old. Local music fans might have caught her first-ever performance, which was with the Oswego Opera Theater.

Last year, she had the opportunity to audition at bigger theater conferences and learn how the professional audition process works.

“Making the transition from the college educational world into the professional world was really exciting,” Leotta said.

At Oswego, she is involved with the Blackfriars Theatre Organization and has performed in previous musicals such as “Fun Home.” While she is not in any of the plays this semester, she and a fellow theatre student wrote their own audio drama podcast. The production will be available on both Spotify and Apple Podcast.

Leotta also will be involved behind the scenes with the college production of “It’s A Wonderful Life” as part of the marketing team.

“That’s actually really fun because it’s more of a hands-on behind-the-scenes approach to shows that I don’t usually get to take,” she said.

Leotta is also involved with the SUNY Oswego Women’s Choir. As such, her first project for the semester will be to record “Hallelujah.” Each choir member will record their part separately, with a final version to be released to the campus community.

Her piece of advice to SUNY Oswego students who aspire to reach similar goals: “Trust in yourself and know you’re worth.”

To make a reservation for the free virtual Mandy Gonzalez performance, visit tickets.oswego.edu.

For more information on the ALANA conference, visit https://www.oswego.edu/alana.

For more information on Artswego, and the college’s performing and visual arts offerings, visit oswego.edu/artswego.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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