|Born||February 15, 1956|
|Alma mater||Tulane University|
|Known for||Abuela Claudia in In the Heights|
|Awards||Drama Desk Award |
HOLA Tespis Award
Olga Merediz (born February 15, 1956) is an American actress and singer. Merediz originated the role of Abuela Claudia in the Broadway musical In the Heights, for which she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. She played the role for the show's entire Broadway run, and reprised the role in the film adaptation. Her television credits include NBC's 2016 series Shades of Blue and Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.
Merediz was born in Guantánamo, Cuba on February 15, 1956. She left Cuba with her family when she was five years old to Miami, Florida. Thereafter, she relocated with her family to Puerto Rico where she grew up. Merediz graduated with a bachelor's degree from Newcomb College, the former female counterpart to Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Film and television
Having made her film debut in 1984's The Brother from Another Planet, Merediz has since appeared in a number of films, including The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), City of Hope (1991), Evita (1996), Music of the Heart (1999), K-Pax (2001), Remember Me (2010), Custody (2016), Humor Me (2017), and the reprise of her 2008 Tony Award nominated Broadway role as Abuela Claudia, in the film adaptation In the Heights (2021). She also portrayed Alma Madrigal in Encanto (2021).
Her television credits, in both dramas and comedies, include recurring and guest roles in Diary of a Future President, New Amsterdam, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Orange Is the New Black and Madam Secretary. She has been a series regular in the UK television series Bounty Hunters and the comedy Saint George, has appeared in episodes of both Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU, and appeared as herself as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.
Theatre and stage
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 the PBS Nature documentaries: Bears, Hotel Armadillo, Jungle Animal Hospital, Nature's Miracle Orphans, and Cuba: The Accidental Eden. Her voice can be heard in numerous TV/radio commercials, Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, Elena of Avalor, and Encanto.
Awards and nominations
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 addition to her Tony Award nomination, 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.
In 2013, Latina magazine named her as one of the 50 Best Latin Singers and Pop Stars of All Time. According to the magazine, "The Cuban Broadway star knows how to dominate a live stage and owns it!"
|†||Denotes works that have not yet been released|
|1984||The Brother from Another Planet||Noreen's Client|
|1988||The Milagro Beanfield War||Milagro Townsperson|
|1991||City of Hope||Nidia|
|The Super||Female #2|
|Marvin's Room||Beauty Shop Lady|
|1997||States of Control||Purse-snatched Woman|
|White Lies||Woman #1 in Window|
|1999||Things I Forgot to Remember||Carmela|
|Music of the Heart||Ms. Olivas|
|2000||Isn't She Great||Mrs. Ramirez|
|Center Stage||ABA Receptionist|
|Requiem for a Dream||Malin & Block Secretary|
|2002||Changing Lanes||Mrs. Miller|
|2006||A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints||Aunt Mary|
|2010||Remember Me||Aidan's Professor|
|2011||Mr. Popper's Penguins||Nanny|
|Trouble in the Heights||Gloria|
|2012||One for the Money||Rosa Gomez|
|The Place Beyond the Pines||Malena Gutierrez|
|2014||The Angriest Man in Brooklyn||Jane|
|Top Five||Chelsea's Mom|
|Like Sunday, Like Rain||Esa|
|2017||The Light of the Moon||Mariana|
|Humor Me||Fortune Teller|
|2019||Fair Market Value||Missy Goya|
|2021||In the Heights||Abuela Claudia|
|Encanto||Abuela Alma Madrigal (singing voice)|
|2023||Somebody I Used to Know||Joanne "Jojo"|
|1985||The Cosby Show||Mrs. Rodriguez||Episode: "Mr. Quiet"|
|1986||Another World||Dolores||1 episode|
|1987||Leg Work||Nuse||Episode: "Things That Go Bump in the Night"|
|1987–95||ABC Afterschool Special||Mrs. Mathias / Dr. Montoya||2 episodes|
|1989||Baby Cakes||Check-out Girl||TV movie|
|1991–2009||Law & Order||Various||6 episodes|
|1995||Central Park West||Anne||2 episodes|
|1996||The Sunshine Boys||Sue||TV movie|
|2000||The Sopranos||Fran||Episode: "Bust Out"|
|2001||The Job||Yolanda Sommeriba||Episode: "Anger"|
|Third Watch||Judge||Episode: "He Said/She Said"|
|2002||George Lopez||Aunt Cecilia||Episode: "Who's Your Daddy?"|
|Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Mrs. Martinez||Episode: "Best Defense"|
|2003||Dora the Explorer||Maestra Beatriz (voice)||Episode: "School Pet"|
|Hope & Faith||Gloria||3 episodes|
|2003–21||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Veronica Nash / Judge Roberta Martinez||6 episodes|
|2004||The Jury||Leticia Schikert||2 episodes|
|2005||Go, Diego, Go!||Mrs. Marquez (voice)||Episode: "Diego Saves the Humpback Whale"|
|2009||Au Pair 3: Adventure in Paradise||Teresa||TV movie|
|Royal Pains||Esperanza||Episode: "If I Were a Sick Man"|
|2010||Past Life||Carmen Santos||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2011||Blue Bloods||Inez||Episode: "My Funny Valentine"|
|Pan Am||Mrs. Rodriguez||Episode: "Unscheduled Departure"|
|2014||Saint George||Alma Lopez||10 episodes|
|2014–19||Orange Is the New Black||Lourdes||6 episodes|
|2015||Alternatino||Mother||Episode: "Respect Your Mother"|
|2016||Madam Secretary||Rep. Elle Vazquez||Episode: "Breakout Capacity"|
|2016–17||Shades of Blue||Lorena Zepeda||3 episodes|
|2017||The Breaks||Episode: "Blind Alley"|
|Bounty Hunters||Maria||5 episodes|
|2017–18||Stuck in the Middle||Abuela||2 episodes|
|2017–19||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Julia Diaz||2 episodes|
|2018–19||New Amsterdam||Warden Gloria Salazar||2 episodes|
|2019||Elena of Avalor||Felicia (voice)||Episode: "Flower of Light"|
|2019–20||Bull||Judge Ollis||2 episodes|
|2020–21||Diary of a Future President||Francisca||2 episodes|
|2022||Blockbuster||Connie Serrano||Main role; 10 episodes|
|1982||Lullabye and Goodnight||Saint||Off-Broadway|
|1984||The Human Comedy||Mexican Woman||Broadway|
|1987||Les Misérables||Female Ensemble/Madame Thénardier Understudy||Broadway (Replacement)|
|2001||Mamma Mia!||Rosie||Broadway (Replacement)|
|2002||Man of La Mancha||The Housekeeper||Broadway Revival|
|2008||In the Heights||Abuela Claudia||Broadway|
Nominated—Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"The Family Madrigal"
(with Stephanie Beatriz and Encanto cast)
|"All of You"
(with Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, Adassa, Maluma, and Encanto cast)
|"—" denotes songs which were not released in that country or did not chart.|
- Willis, John (1995). Theatre World 1992-1993. p. 207. ISBN 9781557832030.
- "Olga Merediz | Biography and Filmography | 1956". Hollywood.com. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- Gans, Andrew (October 27, 2010). "In the Heights to Close on Broadway in January; Miranda to Return to Cast". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
- Jones, Kenneth (January 9, 2011). "Lights Out: In the Heights Ends Broadway Run Jan. 9; Tour Continues and Film Is in the Wings". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2011-01-11. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
- Freshley, Catherine. "Tulane University - Balance and Ambition". Tulane University. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- Hotel Armadillo
- Jungle Animal Hospital
- Nature's Miracle Orphans
- Cuba: The Accidental Eden
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (20 March 1994). "F.Y.I." The New York Times. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- Soltes, John. "Growing old with Olga Merediz in the new musical, ‘In the Heights’"[permanent dead link]. The Leader. June 19, 2008.
- The Broadway League. "Olga Merediz | Awards and Nominations". IBDB.
- "Music". LATINA. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
- Song peaks in the US (Billboard Hot 100):
- "Discography Olga Merediz". australian-charts.com. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
- Discography - singles peaks in Canada:
- "Discography Olga Merediz". irishcharts.com. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
- Peaks on the NZ Heatseeker Singles Chart:
- "The Family Madrigal": "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. January 10, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
- Discography - singles peaks in the UK (Official Charts):
- "Billboard Global 200: Week of February 12, 2022". Billboard. February 12, 2022. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
- "American certifications – Olga Merediz – The Family Madrigal". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2022 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
- "British certifications – Merediz". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 16, 2023. Type Merediz in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.