Kalamazoo College’s spring production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights, with the college’s first cast to be comprised entirely of people of color, did more than just make history during its four-show run last month– it also marked the birth of a star.
K President and all-around flawless human being Dr. Jorge Gonzalez announced his retirement after only a year at Kalamazoo College last Sunday, via a college-wide email with a subject line that read “See ya, suckers!”
“Being your president has been fun, I guess,” Gonzalez writes. “But I regret to inform you that I will not be returning to Kalamazoo College for the Fall 2017 semester. I will be moving on to greener pastures to finally pursue my two-week-long dream of becoming an actor.”
The announcement, met with shock and anguish on the part of K students, faculty, and staff, comes after Gonzalez’s wildly popular cameo appearance as ‘Bodega Customer #4’ in a Friday night performance of In the Heights.
In the cameo– which has since been regarded as one of the most iconic moments in musical theater history– Gonzalez strolled out onto stage during the opening number, wearing his signature gray suit and orange tie. Radiating confidence, he waved to the cheering crowd. Gonzalez then proved himself to possess not only major star power, but also incredible comedic chops as he purchased a box of condoms from lead character Usnavi (Alejandro Jaramillo ’18)—much to the audience’s delight.
Gonzalez’s graceful exit did not go unnoticed. His performance brought the audience to a standing ovation that lasted well over ten minutes; a number of theater-goers were seen weeping and throwing roses onto the stage.
Mere hours after the surprise cameo took the world by storm, officials at the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League announced that Gonzalez had been nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. This came as something of a surprise: the nominations had already been announced earlier in May, and ‘Bodega Customer #4’ has not traditionally been considered a leading role.
“Dr. Gonzalez’s snub was a total failure on our part,” a spokesman for the Tony Awards explained. “This nomination is long overdue, as far as I’m concerned.”
Though he has been trying to keep a level head about his sudden rise to stardom, Gonzalez admits that his journey has been hard to come to fathom. “Before In the Heights, I was just some nobody president of a major academic institution,” he said in an exclusive interview with Buzzkill. “Now, I have a Tony Award nomination and a sponsorship deal with Trojan. It’s surreal.”
Gonzalez is predicted to take home the Tony, beating out such Broadway legends and music giants as Christian Borle and Josh Groban, with Vegas betting odds favoring him at 5,000,000,000 to 1. Theater fanatics and K College students alike are encouraged to watch Gonzalez accept the award and reprise the cameo that made him a star at the seventy-first annual Tony awards Ceremony on Sunday, June 11th.
Buzzkill is The Index’s end-of-quarter satirical publication.