How Robin De Jesús Defied Naysayers to Become a 3-Time Tony Nominee

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One the eve of the premiere of his star turn in Netflix’s The Boys in the Band, the actor gets vulnerable sharing struggles and overcoming challenges on his road to success as part of the Cadillac Lounge series.

Camp. That’s what started it all for three-time Tony Award nominee Robin De Jesús. Not French Woods or Stage Door Manor or another musical theatre haven for youngsters in the Catskills, but the indie movie encapsulating all of those experiences and forever cementing them in the annals of film. “I randomly went to an open call for that movie, from a teacher that told me to go to it. And all of a sudden I was like, I just booked a lead in a movie about musical theatre,” De Jesús tells Playbill from the Cadillac Lounge.

Though he was bullied as a kid and told by teachers that there wouldn’t be a place for him in musical theatre, he has proved all them wrong.

De Jesús is about to celebrate the release of The Boys in the Band film adaptation (out September 30 on Netflix), in which he reprises his Tony-nominated role from the original Broadway company of the Tony-winning revival. And De Jesús’ career has been marked with roles that defy expectations, from Sonny in In The Heights to Jacob in La Cage Aux Folles and more. “That is very intentional and specific and not easy,” he says. “There are periods where I was not making money. There are periods post college where I did have to move back home and live with my family because I was so steadfast and intentional and stubborn in not doing certain kinds of work. I turned down work that didn't represent how I wanted to be represented or that I felt would have hurt me in a way where I would have been always typecast.”

As part of the cast of ¡Viva Broadway!, De Jesús offers another something different. In addition to reuniting with his original In the Heights family, he offers a take on an iconic Kander and Ebb number.

Watch De Jesús 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.

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Watch Highlights from ¡Viva Broadway! Hear Our Voices
 


This digital program was created using PLAYBILLder, Playbill's custom, Broadway-quality program creation tool.

On October 1, Playbill and The Broadway League present ¡Viva Broadway! Hear Our Voices, a digital concert in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, as well as Latinx milestones in theatre. The performance will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, including championing the R.Evolución Latina initiative, and Broadway Bridges.

Hosted by Andréa Burns (In the Heights, On Your Feet!), the concert premiered on Playbill.com, Playbill’s YouTube Channel and on The Broadway League’s website (Viva.Broadway) on Thursday October 1, 2020. Helmed by director and Tony-winning choreographer Sergio Truijllo (Ain’t Too Proud), the event featured an extraordinary roster of award-winning stage and screen Latinx talent, including Lucie Arnaz, Gloria Estefan, John Leguizamo, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Luis Miranda, Chita Rivera and Thalía.

¡Viva Broadway! Hear Our Voices saluted the vibrant, lasting legacy that Latinx artists have contributed and continue to give to Broadway and the entire theatre community while showcasing Latinx talent in an effort to continue to increase representation throughout the industry. The event included a performance from members of the original cast of In the Heights, including Karen Olivo, Andréa Burns, Janet Dacal, Robin De Jesús, Olga Merediz, Carlos Gomez, Eliseo Roman, Luis Salgado, and Nina Lafarga; as well as performances from Broadway-bound musicals and new works including John Leguizamo’s Kiss My Aztec; Arrabal; Passing Through; a look at the first Spanish-language production of A Chorus Line from Antonio Banderas; and so much more!

¡Viva Broadway! was produced by Jack Noseworthy, written by Eric Ulloa, and featured arrangements and music direction by Jaime Lozano, sound design by Jorge Muelle and Jessica Paz, and instrumentals by national and international musicians including Tony Award winner Alex Lacamoire, Oscar Hernandez and Michelle Rodriguez & Julio Copello. Luis Salgado is the associate director/choreographer and Roberto Araujo is the Director of Video Production and Editing.
Ruthie Fierberg served as executive producer.

This concert event was brought to you by title sponsor Cadillac along with presenting sponsor City National Bank and featured sponsor Gilead. Univision was the official media partner.

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