On July 9th, musical theatre lovers everywhere will involuntarily cry out in sadness around 11 PM, without knowing why. But, if they are good musical theatre lovers, they will know the source of their agony: Lin-Manuel Miranda will have played his final performance as the title role in Hamilton.
It’s truly the worst thing to happen in the history of everything (kind of like when Idina AND Kristin left Wicked). But, fret not, my friends: Miranda will be giving someone else “their shot” to stand in Hamilton’s shoes.
Javier Muñoz, the long-time understudy and alternate for Miranda, will step into the limelight as Hamilton. It’s a considerable achievement for the Brooklyn born actor, who recently battled (and defeated) cancer in November 2015.
He was forced to take more than 2 months of leave due to his illness, but triumphantly returned to the show in January 2016. He credits his three older brothers for helping him through treatments, and explains that his struggle brought his family closer.
Muñoz, who repeatedly described himself as a fighter, went into surgery with one of his three older brothers by his side before beginning radiation treatments. It was after the operation that he shared his diagnosis with his parents. While he said they weren’t happy to learn he had kept the news from them, his relationship with his family has deepened significantly since (People.com)
When he returned to the show in January, he found it hard, at first, to endure through the three-hour spectacle. But, Muñoz says the cast’s support meant everything to him:
“I will never forget the energy of that cast…I’m not supposed to cry in that moment. But I was so relieved and proud and moved and in love with every single person on that stage. I couldn’t hold it together. I was breathing heavy, not because I was tired, but because I was so emotional. I was trying to play the moment and trying to be true to the moment, but the emotions were really overwhelming. I ended up finally tearing and crying, but every single person on that stage had my back. I felt it.” (People.com)
What else should you know about Mr. Muñoz?
- He helped create the Hamilton role with Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Muñoz was also Miranda’s understudy in In the Heights, which earned him a Drama Desk award
- He is known as the “sexy Hamilton,” credited to theatre critic Ben Brantley, and the hashtag #Javilton was created specifically for him
- He’s performed as Hamilton for Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and even the President of the United States
- He attended New York University and was involved in the CAP 21 program
- He re-watched the Star Wars saga while he was hospitalized in November
Want more of #Javilton? Check out his adorable Twitter account and be awed.
— Blake Ross (@PlaybillBlake) June 16, 2016