Most audiences know Gabrielle Ruiz from her charismatic turn on the hit musical comedy TV series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but the performer has a long history on the stage. Not only did she star on Broadway in In The Heights, replacing as Nina Rosario in the hit musical, and appear in the 2012 revival of Evita and If/Then, Ruiz has played Diana Morales in numerous production of A Chorus Line—so much so that she can track her life through Chorus Line productions.
“Without a doubt, the most fulfilling role and job [in my career] is Diana Morales,” she says. “It’s a love story for dancers, and I was always primarily a dancer first. ... I was able to do the national tour. It was my first big break out of college. Then there were a few other times that I was able to do it all with Baayork Lee, but there was this one time with Mitzi Hamilton. It was the year that Marvin Hamlisch passed away and it was at Paper Mill Playhouse. Every chapter it's about a six-to-eight-year mark of my career. Diana grew with me. I grew with Diana Morales.”
Ruiz cherished the opportunity to bring her trifecta of talents to Crazy Ex as Valencia Bettis. “I loved that Valencia was just Valencia. Even when she came out as bisexual, she didn't have a huge song and dance for it. They never really leaned into her Mexican heritage,” she says. “[Instead] they leaned into her attitude. They leaned into her charisma and to her opinions and her journey and her struggles of love. I really appreciated that and I was able to represent something that I never saw in television growing up myself.”
Watch Ruiz and over 60 other Latinx stars of stage and screen in Playbill and The Broadway League’s ¡Viva Broadway! Hear Our Voices, sponsored by Cadillac. The star-studded concert event is a benefit performance for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Bridges. Tune in to the premiere October 1 8PM ET at Playbill.com/Viva.