Renee Elise Goldsberry was born in San Jose, California on January 2, 1971, and raised in both Houston, Texas, and Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a bachelor's degree in acting, and went on to attend graduate school at the University of Southern California, where she received her masters in vocal jazz performance.
She has worked in numerous Broadway plays, including a production of Disney's The Lion King in 2003 (as "Nala"). She closed the role of "Mimi Marques" in the original Broadway production of Rent (2008) and originated the role of Angelica Schuyler (in "Hamilton" from 2015-2016). She also appears in the daytime drama One Life to Live (1968) as the determined lawyer Evangeline Williamson. She has worked with household names such as Oprah Winfrey in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017) and Cate Blanchett in The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018).