Javier Munoz Says Goodbye to Lin-Manuel Miranda: 'Hamilton' Creator, Star and "My Great Friend"
Ahead of their final performances in the hit Broadway musical, Munoz also shared how fellow actors Leslie Odom Jr. and Phillipa Soo have helped him through his recent battle with cancer.
Javier Munoz has begun to say goodbye to the departing actors of Hamilton.
“As actors, we’re always saying hello and goodbye. Contracts end and people move on, that’s just the nature of the business, but it doesn’t ever get any easier,” Munoz, the longtime alternate for Lin-Manuel Miranda who will take over the title role next week, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Lin and I, we’re also great friends — I’m not just losing a colleague who won’t be there every day, but also my friend won’t be there every day. I'll miss him, and do my best to honor what he's made.”
Composer and star Miranda, as well as Phillipa Soo and Leslie Odom Jr., will play their final performance on Saturday night. “I have developed an appreciation for cherishing those moments. The day will be a very conscious day. I’ll be locking in as much as I can in my memory banks,” says Munoz. “I had my last performance with Phillipa, Leslie and [ensemble member] Ariana DeBose on Thursday, and I got very sentimental about it and just really breathed in all the moments onstage with them. To know that they had happened, and hold them in my heart.”
Throughout Saturday, Munoz also tweeted video tributes for the departing actors, sharing how they’ve helped him through his recent battle with cancer. “She nurtures, she makes things grow,” he said of Soo, who plays Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. “Always solace with Pip, always a place where my heart was safe. … Thank you for helping me and all of us be better.”
He thanked Odom, the Tony winner who plays Aaron Burr, for raising a collection within the cast to gift him with two cooked meals per day during the actor’s radiation treatment last year. “The gift of nutrition,” said Munoz, who later used the bags as weights in his recovery. “Just giving you a little more reason to love and adore this man who I’m going to miss very much. … Thank you for everything.”
Munoz also thanked DeBose for keeping his spirits high throughout the process. “Any other cancer survivors out there will understand when I say, reclaiming your life is not just about healing your body, but healing your mind and your heart. On that journey when I would push myself to go to work and I was a mess and I couldn’t pull it together … there was always Ariana and her compassion and her love and her friendship.”
Watch the video tributes below.