On Monday, September 19, GMHC honored Javier Muñoz—the star of Broadway’s smash hit Hamilton: An American Musical—with the 2016 Howard Ashman Award at a cabaret benefit event at Joe’s Pub in New York City. The actor was recognized for his work in raising awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Brooklyn-born Muñoz was diagnosed with HIV in 2002 in San Francisco. (Click here to read an exclusive POZ interview.) He moved back to New York City shortly afterward, and GMHC was one of the first places he went to for support.
“It was at GMHC that I started my fight to live,” Muñoz said. “As a gay man living with HIV, I know how important treatment and support are in order to have a healthy life. That’s why I am committed to using my voice to raise awareness about HIV-related stigma and other barriers that block people from seeking care. GMHC’s life-sustaining services and programs are vital to all of us.”
GMHC is the world’s first AIDS service organization and has provided HIV/AIDS care and services for nearly 35 years. The proceeds from the 2016 Howard Ashman Award & Cabaret will support GMHC’s programs, which benefit more than 10,000 clients every year.
Lin-Manuel Miranda (the Tony Award–winning creator of Hamilton) made a surprise appearance at the event and sang “I’m Out” from his earlier Broadway show In the Heights. Other performers included Broadway artists Robin De Jesús (Wicked, In the Heights); Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King); Rosie Lani Fiedelman and James Brown-Orleans (The Lion King); Henry Gainza (On Your Feet!); Ana Villafañe (On Your Feet!); and Ryann Redmond (If/Then).
Howard Ashman was an Oscar-and Grammy-winning lyricist who died of AIDS-related complications in 1991. He is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Alan Menken on the animated Disney films The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. GMHC created the Howard Ashman Award with the Ashman family to recognize a member of the Broadway community who has made a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Click here to watch a video from the event.