Star of the Week: Javier Muñoz beats cancer, proves he is Non-Stop

 

Every Sunday those who are lucky enough to see Hamilton get an added treat: a performance by Javier Muñoz in the titular role of Alexander Hamilton. Muñoz, decreed the “sexy Hamilton” by the New York Post, offers his own unique flair to the historical figure.

Muñoz understudied the role of Usnavi for Miranda during their run of In The Heights, so he was no stranger to doing the same at Hamilton. Though Manuel originated the role of Alexander Hamilton, Muñoz makes it his own and has developed his own devoted following and his own viral hashtag (#Javilton).

Muñoz even had the opportunity to perform for President Obama and his family when they came to the see the show last year. But perhaps what Muñoz brings to the character is something that Miranda can’t; though in a different vein, Muñoz understands struggle like the real Alexander Hamilton.

Recently, Muñoz spoke out about his cancer diagnosis that began in October. Muñoz  said that at first he tried to put it out of his mind but by November he left the show to begin surgery and radiation treatments.

There was never a consideration that Muñoz wouldn’t reprise his role once he felt ready, director Tommy Kail confirmed. “Javi’s someone who has given so much, new we wanted to make sure he had what he needed to be well, and to know he wasn’t alone,” Kail said to the New York Post.

But even when he was away from the Richard Rodgers theatre, Muñoz is too beloved by his Hamilton family to go through it alone. Contrary to his character’s stance, Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Muñoz’s killer once a week, put together a food drive in which the cast members made sure that Muñoz was taken care of.

His Hamilton family members weren’t the only ones who stuck by his side; with 13,000 followers on Twitter, his absence from the show was heavily noticed. With constant tweets love and support, his fans made it clear that they were there for him. And when he finally was able to resume his role in February, Muñoz’s parents, whom he cared for when they dealt with their simultaneous cancer battles 12 years ago, went to watch their son.

The New York Times described Muñoz’s Hamilton as an “aggressive and angular Hamilton, who wields his ambition like a sword”, and imaginably this is due to Muñoz’s inner battle. Knowing that Alexander Hamilton was fighting to prove everyone wrong, Muñoz was fighting to overcome his own hurdles with cancer. Muñoz’s Twitter feed is filled with strong inspirational and messages of hope either to his followers or in response to their outpouring of messages. Muñoz’s memorable tweets includeAt the end of the day its up to you; and only you; to choose to keep going” and “I like to believe we aren’t fully aware of how strong we are until we are forced to face something. #YouCan”.

Muñoz sings, “Rise up, when you’re living on your knees, rise up,” every Sunday when #Javilton reigns over the theatre and, like a phoenix from the ashes, that is what he did.

 

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About Nicole N.

"Say yes. Show up afraid, show up prepared, but say yes." - Renee Elise Goldsberry

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