Checking In With… Hamilton and In the Heights Star Javier Muñoz

Interview   Checking In With… Hamilton and In the Heights Star Javier Muñoz
 
The actor is featured in the new film Monuments, which arrives June 4.
Javier Muñoz Headshot.jpg
Javier Muñoz

As the temporary shutdown of Broadway continues, Playbill is reaching out to artists to see how they are physically and creatively responding to a changed world.

During Pride Month, the series continues with LGBTQIA+ artist Javier Muñoz, an original cast member of both Broadway's In the Heights and Hamilton, who eventually succeeded creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in the leading roles of, respectively, Usnavi and Alexander Hamilton. He has also been seen on stage in productions of The New Englanders, A Sign of the Times, The Porch, Venice, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Richard III, and Into the Woods, while his screen credits include The House That Jack Built, Papa's Prince, Odd Man Out, Quantico, Blindspot, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Elena of Avalor, and Shadowhunters.

Muñoz will next be seen in the new film Monuments, which arrives in theatres and online June 4. The actor plays Howl, the torch-carrying ex of Laura (played by Marguerite Moreau), whose death sparks a cross-country road trip by her husband (David Sullivan). Written and directed by Jack C. Newell (42 Grams, Open Tables), Monuments is released by Row House Films. Click here for more information.

Javier Muñoz and company
Javier Muñoz and company

What is your typical day like now?
Now that we are slowly returning to life, post-vaccinations, my days are filling back up with work. Most of the work is still virtual, but some of it is in person, and it feels pretty miraculous to be back to creating in person!

What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
Book: My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes
TV show: Moving Art (Netflix)
Podcast: What Are Friends For (Gabrielle Ruiz and Pallavi Sastry)
Film: Monuments (my next film! :-))

During this time of reflection and re-education regarding BIPOC artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow actors, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
Friends and colleagues like Karen Olivo, Eden Espinosa, Rodrick Covington, Pearl Sun, and more are engaging our industry in open, honest, and vital conversations. Folks should definitely consider following them on social media for more.

Javier Muñoz as Alexander Hamilton
Javier Muñoz as Alexander Hamilton

What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation and/or the current unrest?
That we are all in the same boat, so hang in there, be gentle with yourself and others, and stay hopeful because we really are coming back in just a matter of months!

How, if at all, are you keeping your creative juices flowing? Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
I’ve been doing a lot of writing, voiceover work from home, and a whole lot of virtual events and concerts. Virtual pales in comparison to live theatre, but it has helped tremendously to keep creating during this past year.

How will you feel about returning to live performances?
Ready Ready Ready!

What would you say to audience members who may be feeling uneasy about returning to the theatre?
I think everyone should go at their own pace, without judgment, when returning to life again. I hope we do not place expectations on one another about how fast or slow to return to our lives. Again, I hope we all can be gentle with ourselves and others.

Are there any particular ways you celebrate Pride Month each year? How will you celebrate this year?
I always celebrate Pride by surrounding myself with my closest friends and loved ones. Last year it was virtual, this year I hope to see my friends in person for lots of hugs and laughter and joy. This year also marks 40 years of HIV/AIDS, so there is much reflection to be had and life to celebrate.

What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
I suggest the three organizations I work closely with which are GMHC, BC/EFA, and (RED).

READ: Checking In With… Come From Away Star De'Lon Grant

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