Merediz in In the Heights

Photo of Olga Merediz playing Abuela Claudia in In The Heights

Olga Merediz (NC ’78)

For over forty years, acclaimed Broadway, television, and film actress Olga Merediz has dazzled audiences as a double threat in acting and singing.

Merediz graduated from Newcomb College in 1978 and made her film debut in 1984’s The Brother from Another Planet. In the decades that have followed, she has built a prolific career onstage and on-screen, appearing in numerous films and plays, such as Evita, Man of La Mancha, Mamma Mia!, and Les Misérables. Merediz has also appeared in dozens of television series, including Law & Order, Orange Is the New Black, George Lopez, Diary of a Future President, and more.

In 2008, Merediz landed a featured lead in the 2008 Tony Award-winning musical, In The Heights. Her role of Abuela Claudia, which she also reprised in the musical’s 2021 film adaptation, has been acclaimed internationally and earned Merediz a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. In 2021, Merediz received critical acclaim once again for her role as matriarch Alma Madrigal in the Disney film Encanto, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture–Animated, and the Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.

Despite decades-long success, Merediz is just getting started. In 2022, she directed My Two Moms: A Story of Separation, a documentary film exploring Merediz’s childhood in Cuba. For her work on the film, she was awarded Best Director in a Feature Film by the South Cinematographic Academy of Film and Arts, while the film itself was awarded Best Feature Documentary Film at the 2022 L.A. Indies Film Festival.