Second annual Stage the Change PNW Conference in Bend, Oregon Saturday, April 22, 2023


Broadway Star Mandy Gonzalez will close the Tower Theatre Foundation’s annual two-day Stage the Change PNW Conference in Bend, Oregon on Saturday, April 22, 2023 with a keynote address to high school conference attendees followed by a concert to attendees and members of the general public.  The conference, now in its second year, invites high school students from around the Pacific Northwest to employ performing arts to find their social voice and be catalysts for change.

Mandy Gonzalez is an accomplished film, TV, and stage actor and author.  She possesses one of the most powerful and versatile contemporary voices of our time. Mandy starred on Broadway in the megahit Hamilton as Angelica Schuyler. She also originated Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, In the Heights, for which Mandy received a Drama Desk Award. Mandy also starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked, blowing the roof off New York’s Gershwin Theatre each night as she belted out the signature song, “Defying Gravity.”

Mandy also received an OBIE Award and overwhelming critical praise for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli’s Comin’. Television viewers have had the pleasure of seeing Mandy in her recurring roles in the hit series “Madam Secretary” and “Bull,” and alongside Steve Martin and Martin Short in “Only Murders in the Building.” Equally at home on the big and small screen, she has appeared in “Across the Universe” directed by Julie Taymor, “After” starring opposite Pablo Schreiber and “Man on a Ledge” with Sam Worthington. Mandy can also be heard as the voice of Mei in Disney’s “Mulan 2.”

A frequent concert soloist, Mandy has performed with symphony orchestras around the world, including at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops. Mandy is a Warner Music East / West artist and released her debut album, FEARLESS, which debuted at #13 on the iTunes pop charts. Mandy is also an author—she recently published her Young Adult novel series, FEARLESS, published by Simon and Schuster.  In her quest to create positive change, Mandy is the proud founder of #FearlessSquad—a social media movement for inclusiveness and positivity. #FearlessSquad connects people around the world, encourages them to be their best selves, and helps them empower each other.

The Stage the Change conference is being held outside of New York for the second year and is in partnership with the New York-based nonprofit also called Stage the Change. Since 2013, Stage the Change in New York has offered a conference to high school students with the mission to empower teens to use performing arts to find their social voice and be catalysts for change. Guest speakers and panelists at the New York conference have included Tony-Award winning Broadway Star Brian Stokes Mitchell (Man of the Mancha, Ragtime), Tony-Award winning Broadway star Gavin Creel (Hello Dolly, Book of Mormon, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hair), television, film and stage actress Jessica Hecht (Friends, Fiddler on the Roof), Broadway composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Shrek, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Terrence McNally, four time Tony Award-winning playwright, Broadway Producer and activities Tom Kirdahy, Drama Desk Award Winner, writer, actress and activist, Anna Deavere Smith; Broadway actor and playwright.

High School students in the Pacific Northwest attending the full, two-day Stage the Change conference, will enjoy:

Friday evening – Conference welcome, Keynote Address by Kimberly Howard Wade, Caldera Arts’ Executive Director, and dessert reception.

Saturday morning – Student performing arts showcase.

Saturday afternoon – Three interactive workshop sessions with four themed tracks, titled:

Art and Racism; Diversity, Equity and Art; LGBTQAI2S+ Equality; Adversity Meets Innovation

The twelve workshops will be held at our partner sites OSU-Cascades. Confirmed workshop presenters include: John Kish Actor/Owner of Somewhere That’s Green; #instaballet; Actor and Activist Marcus LeGrand; Singer-Songwriter Maiah Wynne; Actor/Dancer/Musician and Founder of Native American Studies Program at Southern Oregon University Brent Florendo; PassinArts William Earl Ray; Poet and Musician MOsley WOtta; Actor and Director Willow Norton; Musician James Miles; Choreographer and Dancer Samuel Hobbs; Drag Performer Lylac; and Taiko Company Unit Souzou.

Saturday night

6:30 pm – Mandy Gonzalez Keynote followed by concert.

Cost for 2-Day/All-Access Conference is $20 and can be purchased at All students and chaperones need to purchase a pass.

Tower Theatre thanks our Stage the Change supporters: Bend Cultural Tourism Fund, St. Charles Healthcare, Ronald W Naito Foundation, Autzen Foundation, Deschutes County Arts & Culture Grant