Robin De Jesus: La Cage Interview

And do you have a song this time?

I don't. I have less singing this time.

(laughs) I love that you keep getting Tony nominated in the musical category without having a song...

(laughs) It is a little ridiculous and kind of great. But I'm really glad I don't have a song in this particular production, because leading up to it, I was on Accutane and I started losing my voice, and I debated whether I was going to do a musical again.

Thank God, through my doctor and my acupuncturist, my voice has come back. But I was really living in fear for a moment there about that. It was just a reaction I had to the medication. So, if it had been a role with a lot of music, it probably would not have been pleasant. I probably would have been replaced in previews. Just joking.

So, you're having a lot of fun with the show?

Oh, God, yeah... it's interesting this time around, too, because In The Heights was so personal, and it was my first time originating on Broadway, and as a cultural thing, for me, I felt so connected and I put a lot of pressure on the show for myself, and for me with the awards season and everything.

A lot of my demons came out during In The Heights, because that show meant so much to me. This time around, it's so chill. (sings)It's so chill... and everything's just really pleasant, and calm, and even when I have a moment that could be stressful, I can always find a way to find the good in it and remain calm, so this experience uses all the tools I learned from Heights.

And it's also really interesting because I think I was kind of living ungratefully for a moment in that, you know, 'I'm doing a revival, and it's not an originating role' or whatever, and I didn't realize what I had, and I didn't realize the show was going to be as good as it was.

And I remember going to see Next Fall, the play, and I really really liked it, but I was angry afterward. I was like, 'Why is it that every time there is a well-told gay story, it's always depressing?' And whenever we get gay comedies, they're absolutely horrible. No one knows how to write a good happy gay story.

And I was so angry that the stuff that did well was always depressing gay stuff, and then I went, 'Wait a minute! There is a happy gay show, and I'm a part of it.' I didn't realize what I was doing, and how lucky I am that here's a story about a successful gay marriage that's been going on for two decades or more, and they're in a time where they're being tested, but what couple isn't after 20 years?

And there's the thing of having two dads with a son, but if it weren't for the whole plot with the son, which is the bulk of the story, it's never discussed that they're gay. They're never introduced as 'Hey, I'm so-and-so, I'm so-and-so, and we're a gay couple.' It just is what it is. And it's so fascinating to me that something from the 70s or 80s could be that forward and not have to explain, you just know. Nowadays, everything has to be hand-fed to us.