Javier Muñoz, who alternates in the title role of Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway hit Hamilton, was diagnosed with cancer in October 2015, but decided to share the news months later in hopes to inspire others dealing with similar struggles.
“It’s something that’s so very personal that, by sharing, my intent was to hopefully inspire that one person who couldn’t get out of bed to get out of bed, [or that person] who maybe had treatment that day to go and endure it and survive it and excel the next day,” Muñoz told Playbill.com on the red carpet of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Gala. The actor received his BFA at New York University and was part of the CAP 21 acting program.
“I think it’s important to be that inspiration for each other going through that, so it was very personal to share it,” he continues. “It was a little overwhelming to receive so much love, but it’s wonderful. It just shows me the beauty of this community and the power of this community and the support that exists everywhere.
“I had a young actor from Les Miz wait for me at the backstage door. He was at the end of the line with his father to tell me that he and the other kids from Les Miz were going to raise money for me to help, [to] which I was like, ‘I’m good. Let’s use that money for a donation, a foundation, something…’ And, his father must have anticipated that that’s what I would say because they already had something in mind. But talk about melting…! This young boy[’s] brother has been fighting for his own life. It’s a whole other community within the community. It’s really quite powerful.”
Muñoz first told The New York Post he had been diagnosed with cancer, although he did not reveal other details about the diagnosis, except that he has undergone surgery and radiation treatments.
When Muñoz missed performances, Lin-Manuel Miranda (the show’s creator and star) or actor Jon Rua went on in his place.
“That’s my family,” says Muñoz of the cast. “It’s always a good time there.”
Muñoz continues to alternate with Miranda in the title role at Broadway’s Hamilton.