Meet Miguel: First-time actor with OpenStage in "SWEAT" and 2023 True West Award winner for Day 22: Best Breakout Performances.

Headshot for Miguel Muñoz

Tell us about yourself! What theatre or other experiences did you have in this discipline before working on this show?

I'm a Peruvian-American playwright, director, and actor from the Pacific Northwest. For the past few years, I've been studying at UNCO to get my Theatre Education degree and have been lucky to act in a wide number of productions in the Northern Colorado area, both at school and at some local theaters! Although I love, love acting, my main passion is playwriting and have begun developing my career there, currently working under my first commission. I'm hoping to continue building on all aspects of my theatre career in the future years.

How did you hear about OpenStage?

I knew people who had acted in OpenStage productions before but hadn't been able to familiarize myself with the theatre company very much until I was reached out to about "Sweat" by Sarah Baker, an old college peer who now does Social Media at OpenStage, amongst other things.

What is something you spend your free time doing, outside of theatre?

I'm a huge sports fan, if you couldn't already tell from my super athletic build. I don't play as much as I used to (darn you, ankle problems) but I love watching them. My favorite teams are the LA Chargers, Peruvian national soccer team, and Portland Trailblazers. Oh yeah, and I watch an insane amount of movies. They're my first love.

What has been the most fun part of the rehearsal process so far?

The team is lovely. It's a very heavy show, but everyone approaches it with just the right amount of levity and laughter.

What has been the most challenging aspect of playing this character so far?

For me, the most challenging (and fun!) part of playing Oscar is how silent he is throughout the play. Lynn Nottage writes this very intentionally, and as an actor, the script calls for me to speak to the audience with the languages of my eyes, my body, and my attention.

What is your favorite thing about this show?

An underrated/overlooked detail in this play that I LOVE is how many of the scenes take place during one of the characters' birthdays. We start with these birthdays being the cause of celebration and joy, but as the events at Olstead's unfold, the birthdays feel melancholic and dreadful, becoming a representation of how time is passing them by as the world changes.

Why is a play like "SWEAT" important? What do you hope audiences will get out of it?

It's a deeply human story. People say and do awful things in this play, but when put under the microscope Nottage so carefully operates, we are able to understand them and our fellow Americans at a deeper level. It's both a cautionary tale and a hopeful (albeit frightening) message that the enemy is not your neighbor, but the powers that be who profit off divide.

What is your favorite role you’ve played in the past?

I had an absolute blast playing the role of Khlestakov in UNCO's recent production of the Russian classic "The Government Inspector." Equal parts conniving and comedic, that character's Tartuffe-like disposition allowed for so many fun moments as an actor.

What is your favorite show?

My absolute favorite changes often, but right now it has to be Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night." It speaks to me in a different impacting way than it did before and I think about it often. I just bought a 500-page biography on O'Neill's latter years, when he wrote the play.

What projects are you working on next?

Lots of writing ahead of me! Currently writing a TYA play/musical under commission for American Stage in St. Petersburg, Florida. It's called "Familia de Flamingos" and I'm having a blast working on it. Other than that, lots of personal writing projects. Hopefully more acting opportunities, too.

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Kenny Moten

January 13–February 10, 2024
Playing at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre

Come see Miguel take the stage in "SWEAT" Jan. 13-Feb. 10!

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat is a humorous, heart-wrenching, and honest look at the decline of the working class in modern America. In 2008, in a bar in Reading, Pennsylvania, best friends Cynthia, Tracy, and Jessie shared their lives—the good, the bad, and many drinks. Suddenly, they find themselves facing the crushing weight of layoffs and picket lines at the local steel mill. As the union loses ground, trust erodes and they find themselves pitted against one another in a harrowing fight to stay afloat. Sweat boldly confronts issues of race, deindustrialization, and the ever-slipping grip on the “American Dream.”