Jacob and David Guzman have done everything together. That was until last season, when casting directors finally split the two apart. Jacob moved forward with Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof while David was cut, “which was weird because it was the first time that I was going to do something without him in a professional sense,” says Jacob.
The 21-year-old duo danced together for 15 years before landing their first Broadway show together in 2012, Newsies. They had vowed to stick together until high school graduation and would only take the job if they came as a package deal. (Read more about their dance background and how they originally turned down their chance for Broadway until a second spot opened up in Newsies.)
But, those days are gone (even though immediately following Newsies, they shared the television screen in the NBC broadcast of Peter Pan Live!). Now they enjoy being separate entities. After Jacob was cast in the lab workshop of Fiddler, David was asked to tour the country with Newsies.
“It was funny,” David says, “because he books the lab, and then I book something slightly better because it’s the tour—more longevity—then he books Broadway, so he ups me, and then I had to up him and book Hamilton on Broadway.”
Jacob laughs. “We’re sitting in our apartment,” he recalls, “and he gets a call from our agent saying that he booked Hamilton, and I just wanted to be like, ‘You! You’re not even home for a week, and not only do you book another job, but you book a Broadway show, and not even just a Broadway show. You book Hamilton.’”
The two are hanging out on the roof at the PHD Terrace at the Dream Midtown hotel a few hours before their respective Friday night shows. Their jobs overlap, but somehow they were able to squeeze in seeing each other onstage.
Jacob’s been to Hamilton three times, including the first time David went on (he joined the mega-hit musical as a swing). “I was just watching it, almost looking for him to make a mistake,” he says. “He’s my brother, and I mess with him! … He dropped a chair, but that was the only thing. I was like, ‘Are you sure this is your first time on?’ He was just so confident in everything that he was doing, and his performance was outstanding.”
Uptown, David was at opening of Fiddler. “We were sitting far in the back. With their long facial hair and hats on—and he had glasses at one point—it’s very hard to tell from the back of the house who is who,” he says. “The way I could tell who it was was when he started dancing because you recognize someone’s style.”
But the best moment was at the Tony Awards. “I just finished performing [with Fiddler],” says Jacob. “I’m on Cloud 9,000. I get off, and the first person I see is David. I just ran over and gave him a huge hug, and we got to take pictures. We took pictures of us in our own costumes. That will never happen anywhere else besides the Tony Awards. I won’t be in my costume at his theatre, and [vice versa]. Not only did we get to perform on the Tony Awards, but we got to see each other there, and that was just a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Michael Gioia is the Features Manager at Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.