“There was never really any change; there was just evolving that had to take place. We still love you, and we don’t care.’ And things have been good moving forward.” So good, in fact, that Rodriguez got in the room where it happens to be seen for Hamilton.
There was an enhancing that had to take place—mental enhancing, physical enhancing, all those things—but that was specifically for me, and I needed time for myself. What are the chemical changes I’m going to go through? To be quite honest, I was afraid that they would drop me, and I wouldn’t have had anyone to represent me, and I would be struggling again, but fortunately, after I sent the email, they said, ‘What? After uploading a video in which she covers “Satisfied,” the show-stopping song in the first act for the character of Angelica Schuyler—and receiving massive response from friends and over 2,600 views—she attempted to get it in the hands of Hamilton’s casting team.
Everybody wants you to see a video that you put out, but I also wanted to advocate in a way and say, ‘Listen, ladies and boys!
My trans brothers and sisters, y’all can get up there and put a video up, too.’ If the talent is there, they’re going to love it no matter what, and the responses and feedback were so great.“Within a week or so, I got a call from my agents, and they said, ‘Telsey wants you to come in for Hamilton.’ And there it was. It just happened.” She was called in to audition for the role of Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds, originated on Broadway by cisgender female Jasmine Cephas Jones, and says it went “really, really well.” Going in, “It was a little nerve-wracking,” she admits. Even though these people know me, I still haven’t seen them in a while, so I didn’t know how it was going to be received, but when I walked in there and received a hug from the casting [directors], it was just like old times when they first saw me.
In the 2011 Off-Broadway revival of Rent, MJ Rodriguez was “just living me onstage,” she recalls. I was in character, of course, but I was also living me and telling my story through Angel.” Though typically thought of as a drag queen, Angel Dumott Schunard was more “gender queer” or “gender fluid” in Rodriguez’s eyes.
When Angel felt most herself, she was dressed to the nines in women’s clothing with full hair and makeup, and her friends addressed her as “her.” Same goes for Rodriguez, who was assigned male at birth, but felt female at heart. ’” Serve she did—receiving acclaim for her performance and the Clive Barnes Award months after making her Off-Broadway debut.
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