Conshohocken’s Angel Sigala makes his Broadway debut in New York, New York

Brenda Hillegas
feature photo: Janet Dacal and Angel Sigala by Paul Kolnik

If the nine Tony nominations aren’t enough for Philadelphians to flock to Broadway for New York, New York, we have another reason! Plymouth Whitemarsh and Temple University graduate Angel Sigala is making his Broadway debut in the new John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Lin-Manuel Miranda hit. You may have seen Angel in the Philly area theatre scene recently with roles at People’s Light (Mushroom, Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto) and Theatre Exile’s Extreme Home Makeover. Now, he’s a full-time New Yorker on stage every night as Mateo Diaz. Find out more about Angel’s career and his character in New York, New York below.

Q: Tell us a bit about your first experience in live theatre? What made you decide this is what you wanted to do full time?
A: My experience in live theatre started in middle school when I saw my classmates in a junior production of Cinderella. I knew I wanted to be a part of something fun. I joined the choir and gained the confidence to audition and get involved in the program by the time I got to high school. There was something so communal, so magical about the experience that combined so many artistries into one project, and I was hooked.

Q: How has your experiences at Plymouth Whitemarsh and/or Temple University help guide you to who and where you are today?
A: Being able to train in the craft of theatre, meanwhile participating in school productions and professional ones during the summer, really provided a structure for me on how this business works. It ingrained a certain work ethic into me and made me strive to always be the best collaborator I could be. I was also very lucky to meet people and build relationships that I cherish to this day.

Q: You’ve been in some Philadelphia-area plays the last few seasons and are now full swing into song and dance each night. In what ways did you prepare for such a transition?
A: I have always dreamed of one day working on Broadway, so I have been preparing since the moment that I decided to make theatre my career. Philadelphia theatre is great theatre and is full of such talented artists; being a part of that community prepared me for this moment.

Q: What was the audition process like for New York, New York and why did you want to be involved in the show?
A: After seeing an Instagram post and then later having a former teacher send that same post was like a sign. Reading the character description, knowing that this was a queer Latine character, who spoke unapologetic Spanish, in a big splashy musical directed by Susan Stroman, with music by John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda was so exciting; I had to try my chances. I submitted my headshot/resume for consideration, which led me to receive audition materials to send back in a video submission. I was working full-time as a swing in a new musical at People’s Light Theatre, but I surely made the time to do this. After I sent that video, a few days later I was asked to come in person. People’s Light graciously allowed me to miss two performances (shout out to all covers/swings/understudies out there doing the thing) and I went to NYC; after day one, they asked me to come back. On day two, I was told in the room by Susan Stroman that I would be Mateo Diaz on Broadway. It was a dream.

Q: Describe Mateo Diaz. What do you love about him? Do you see any similarities between yourself and Mateo?
A: I love the confidence and pride that exudes from Mateo Diaz; it is inspirational for someone to be unapologetically themselves, especially during a time when the way he looked, the accent he had, and his undisclosed queerness were all going against him. We are similar in many ways, but the biggest way in which we align every night is his passion and love for music and his family.

Q: New York, New York recently earned nine Tony nominations, including best musical! Why do you think the show has been so well received?
A: I feel that this show has a lot of heart and hope, two things that are very much needed in today’s world, especially in this post-pandemic era. It is a love letter to a city that is ready to embrace this story.

Q: Do you have a favorite song or scene from New York New York?
A: Susan Stroman and her team have created delicious choreography that weaves into every nook and cranny of the show; there’s a transition moment where we go from Uptown NY to Times Square and the choreography that takes us there is thrilling.

Q: Now that you’re living in New York, is there anything you miss about Philadelphia?
A: I absolutely miss the people of Philadelphia and the theatre community that welcomed me in a few years ago.

Q: What would be your dream role?
A: I don’t think my dream role exists yet, which is exciting; I am all about the new work that we have yet to create to challenge our audiences and is full of honesty and authenticity. We definitely need more representation on the stage.

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