February 15, 1956 |
|Occupation||Actress, Singer, Writer|
|Known for||Abuela Claudia in In the Heights|
Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Olga Merediz (born February 15, 1956) is an American Broadway, TV, and film actress. Merediz is probably best known for originating the role of Abuela Claudia in the Broadway musical In the Heights, for which she received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. She played the role for the show's entire Broadway run. Merediz has joined the cast of the George Lopez-starring FX series Saint George, playing Alma, Lopez's mother 
Merediz was born in Guantanamo, Cuba, and is the youngest of three children. Upon turning a year old, her family moved to Havana, where her father was a businessman, and her mother earned a PhD from The University of Havana. At five years old, her family migrated to Jamaica, followed by Florida, and ultimately settling in Puerto Rico. Upon turning 18, Olga moved to New Orleans, LA, to attend Tulane University, where she earned a Bachelors of Arts. She was actively involved in the drama and music departments performing in several plays and musicals and singing in different bands including The Tulanians and Jubilation.
Film and television
Merediz’s motion picture credits include The Place Beyond The Pines , The Angriest Man In Brooklyn, Finally Famous, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Remember Me, K-Pax, Apartment 5-C, Trouble in the Heights, Like Sunday, Like Rain, Fugly, Requiem for a Dream, Angie, Evita, and Changing Lanes.
She worked with Meryl Streep in both Marvin’s Room and Music of the Heart,
She worked with Sydney Lumet in Q&A. Robert Redford directed her in The Milagro Beanfield War.
Her television credits include Netflix's big hit Orange is the New Black, Royal Pains, Blue Bloods, Pan Am, Law & Order SVU, The Sopranos, The Job, The George Lopez Show, Third Watch, Law & Order, and 100 Centre Street. She had recurring roles in both The Jury and Hope & Faith. Merediz also appeared on the pilot episode of the FOX TV series Past Life, as well as an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay as a judge.
Theatre and stage
In addition to "In the Heights", Broadway credits include Reckless, "Man of La Mancha", and "Les Misérables". She also appeared as Rosie in "Mamma Mia!".
Before they went to Broadway, Merediz starred in the Off-Broadway versions of "In the Heights", and "The Human Comedy". Some of her other Off-Broadway credits include "Women without Men", "The Haggadah", "Lullabye and Goodnight", and "The Blessing".
Additionally, Merediz was directed by John Cassavetes in a play called "Thornhill".
Merediz has an extensive voice-over and narration portfolio, including documentaries on PBS. Her voice can be heard in Cuba: the Accidental Eden, numerous tv/radio commercials, Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego! Go!
She served as spokesperson for the MTA, New York City Transit Authority.
As a philanthropist, Merediz belongs to several environmental and animal rescue organizations, and she sponsors children around the world.
Awards and nominations
In addition to her Tony Award, Merediz won a 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance for her role in the off-Broadway run of In the Heights, as well as a 2003 HOLA Tespis Award from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. At the 2008 Tony Awards, she received a nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for the Broadway incarnation of In the Heights.
In 2013, Latina magazine named her as one of the 50 Best Latin Singers and Pop Stars of All time. As per the magazine, “The Cuban Broadway star knows how to dominate a live stage and owns it!”
- Gans, Andrew. "In the Heights to Close on Broadway in January; Miranda to Return to Cast". Playbill.
- Jones, Kenneth. "In the Heights Ends Broadway Run Jan. 9; Tour Continues and Film Is in the Wings".playbill.com, January 9, 2011.
- The Broadway League. "Olga Merediz | Awards and Nominations". IBDB.
- Soltes, John. "Growing old with Olga Merediz in the new musical, ‘In the Heights’". The Leader. June 19, 2008.
- Olga Merediz at the Internet Broadway Database
- Olga Merediz at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Olga Merediz at the Internet Movie Database