Getting To Know Renee Elise Goldsberry (Evangeline, OLTL)

Soap Opera Digest: What were you doing before you came to OLTL? We’d heard that you were on Broadway as Nala in The Lion King.
Renee Elise Goldsberry: I was. I came to New York from L.A. to do The Lion King. Fortunately, after six months I happened to audition for ONE LIFE, and it grew to doing both roles.Digest: Was it overwhelming to do the show and the soap at the same time?
Goldsberry: It really wasn’t. I feel like you do whatever you have to do at the time. When I look at Kathy [Brier, Marcie, who is starring in Hairspray], I think, ‘Poor girl [laughs].’ It’s harder on her than it was on me, definitely. But doing a soap opera and a Broadway show is amazingly compatible if you’re working for people who are sensitive to each other. Fortunately, I was in that situation, so it worked out well. But now that I’m done with The Lion King and have a life again, I’m like, “This is awesome.” I love having weekends off and having time here to get to know the cast better.Digest: Are you from L.A.?
Goldsberry: I’m from Texas, but I lived in L.A. for a while. I was actually born in California. Houston and L.A. are relatively similar — very spread-out cities with people from all over the world living there and a lot of traffic. So, I felt very comfortable in L.A. But the longer I’ve been in New York, the happier I am here.Digest: Do you feel like a New Yorker?
Goldsberry: I do. I’ve always felt that way. New York is the kind of place that — it’s totally cliche because it’s the song — but if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. There’s something about being here and being kind of successful that makes you feel unstoppable.Digest: Let’s talk a little about R.J. and Evangeline.
Goldsberry [as Timothy D. Stickney, R.J., walks by]: Yes, let’s talk about Tim while he’s standing right here [laughs]. It’s great. [Whispering] It’s an honor being paired with him. Acting for me is like tennis. You’re as good as your partner. You have to lift up your game when you’re dealing with someone so talented. I feel like he makes me really good.Digest: What have you learned from him?
Goldsberry: I have learned a lot. He’s been on the show a long time, and even if he had not, he has a natural ability for stage or screen. And, most importantly, he’s a nice guy — really patient, sweet. No stereotype of a soap opera actor at all, or I should say, no bad one. So, it’s been awesome. And his character is fun to play off of because he’s so bad.Digest: R.J. and Evangeline are so different. What does she see in him?
Goldsberry: Another thing about the character that’s good is that he’s this brooding kind of villain. There’s maybe two people R.J. has a vulnerability to. One was his daughter, Keri, and the other is Evangeline. That vulnerability is attractive to the character because she has a different relationship with him than anyone else and feels that she understands him more than anyone else in town.Digest: So, why did she choose to represent Antonio?
Goldsberry: It was a good thing for Evangeline to do because in any relationship, conflict makes things more interesting. This showed a side of her that we hadn’t seen before. Especially having come in representing Mitch and turning off any sensitivity to what the person she was representing might be doing to someone else, which we might stereotypically think a lawyer has no problem doing. So, I’m glad that she’s [defending Antonio]. Sometimes, you have to make those decisions that might hurt people you’re close to. It’s a really interesting twist for this story.

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