Jaime Camil on His Return to Broadway in 'Chicago': 'It Was Worth the Wait'
Second chances don't come often, but when they do, you don't take them for granted. That's how Jaime Camil sees his recently announced casting in the award-winning musical Chicago, marking his anticipated return to the Broadway stage.
After being so close to performing on Broadway with The Mambo Kings in 2005 -- as the first Mexican to be part of the original cast -- the musical never reached New York. But that same year, he was able to set foot on Broadway after he was invited to join the cast of Latinologues during its last weeks at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Now, 11 years later, opportunity comes knocking once again on Camil's door.
The singer and actor, who stars as the funny and charming Rogelio de la Vega on the CW's Jane the Virgin, will be taking on the coveted role of sweet-talking lawyer Billy Flynn in Broadway's longest-running American musical. Camil will play a five-week limited engagement starting May 31 through July 3, for now.
Billboard caught up with the Critic's Choice Award nominee about making his way to the Mecca of theater and what new qualities he hopes to give his character.
First of all, congrats! What does joining the cast of such an iconic production mean to you?
It's an amazing opportunity. My journey to Broadway got interrupted before. My wife told me, "Wow, it took you 11 years to go back and the universe is finally putting you back in that journey," and it's true.
So it was worth the wait, right?
Totally, I agree! I just recently watched the musical and it is so powerful and solid. The cast is so tight and the ensemble is just incredible. It's a show that relies on the human talent, on it's performers.
You join Broadway in a moment where we have great Latino talent representing, such as Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton and Bianca Marroquín, who became the first Mexican to play the starring role of Roxy Hart in Chicago. Is this something that makes this opportunity even more special?
Yes, but it would have been even more special if Bianca and I would get to be onstage together. She'll be done with her season when I'm there, which is something that I don't understand. She tried to move her schedule to be with me during my time in Chicago, but we couldn't make it happen. We wanted to share the stage because it would be history in the making. Sixty years ago, Manolo Fábregas and Claudio Brook were the first Mexicans on Broadway. Bianca Marroquín was the next Mexican on Broadway, so I'm joining this privileged list of Mexicans on Broadway, and I couldn't be happier to follow in the footsteps of a woman. I love that, and it's truly an honor.
You've seen other actors such as Richard Gere play the role of Billy Flynn, but what new qualities are you hoping to incorporate into your character?
I think what I can bring to the table for Billy is a little bit more of comedy. Not only do I want to be this slick lawyer who never loses a case and is a smooth talker, but also find a way where he gets to have fun. In some of the punch lines, I'm taking them a step further into the comedic side but still, of course, respecting the character.
This a major step in your career. What do you hope to take away from this experience?
Uff! It's freaking Broadway, you know! Yeah, I've done musicals in Mexico like Aladdin, Hook and others, but this is a side of my life that the U.S. market probably doesn't even know about. Musical theater is one of, if not my biggest, passions. If I had to put in order what I love to do the most, it would be musical theater, movies and then television. This opportunity comes in a perfect time, because I had just told my wife that I needed to go back onstage and remind myself why I love to act. And now, life, God and the universe have granted me this precious gift, which is to be on a Broadway show.