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The Stagehand's Closet

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Hello everyone, I’m stage and screen’s Daveed Diggs, and I’m here to tell you about the time I locked a Pulitzer Prize winner in a closet.

First backstories first: My friends Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonathan Groff met while Lin was filming his wacky “my show is moving to Broadway!” video - one of the first things that Lin ever said to Groffsauce canonically, as the kids say, was how damn cute he was. I can’t make this shit up, people, that is the cutest meet-cute that ever met, am I right?

The rest is (also) youtube history - but hey, remember when the Internet gave Lin to Jon for his birthday? Yeah. Well, let me tell you something - you think you know, but you don’t know.

Seriously. You don’t know at ALL.

***

So I’m asleep in my dressing room a day or two after Jon’s birthday and someone starts tap-tapping on my door. “Daveed. Daveed.” Tap-tap. “Daveed.”

“Lin, you bastard,” I said, “I am asleep. If this is not life or death, you will regret it mightily.”

“It’s a little life or death,” says he.

“I’m a little interested,” says I.

He drags me to - there’s this stagehand’s closet stage center-right-ish, which mostly has backup rope and some random-ass buckets. Everyone knows that’s where you go when you don’t want to be overheard - so, of course, everyone knows if you’re in there, you have a secret, so that lasts about a minute and a half. I love theatre.

He gets me in there, and there’s one sad lightbulb on a chain, because it’s a closet so of course there is, and then he - and this is Lin, okay? - he stands there and he says nothing. I’m trying to decide between calling 911 and going back to sleep and then he busts out: “You know how the Internet thinks I’m in love with Jon?”

“Yes,” I say, because I read tumblr same as anyone.

There’s another weird pause.

Faster than any rap he’s ever managed: “I’m in love with Jon.”

“Okay,” I say slowly. Like, I’d make fun of him, but even in the funny light from the light bulb he looks like he’s hiding the serious with the funny. I’ve been there, I can take him at his word. “And Jon...feels what?”

“I don’t know.”

“You haven’t told him? Lin, are you thirteen or what?”

“We’re in the same dressing room, which is basically like living together but with brighter lighting! I don’t want to make it weird!”

“Weird like Alexander Hamilton standing with Thomas Jefferson in a closet while he confesses his love for King George?”

“Weirder,” Lin says.

Uh, sure. That’s why Lin ‘Alexander Hamilton Junior’ has for once not said a thought that occurred to him. Or at least tweeted it with a #Groffsauce tag - and you know he would.

***

So Lin doesn’t tell Jon. And how do I know this? Because like a week later, Jon catches my attention while we’re the only two people near that damn closet.

“Daveed? Can I ask you for some advice?”

“Oh, step into my office,” I tell him.

We get inside and I let him get his brain around it all - he’s not as much like Lin, who does his thinking with his mouth moving, and a little more like Chris, who analyzes how he wants to say things so well before he says them.

“Lin and I have been - been dorky theatre friends for a while,” he tells me. “And we did that all that flirty dorky playacting on YouTube and Vine, too, because why not? It was silly fun, and it promoted the show, and then. Um.”

“What changed?”

“He kissed me last week,” Jon said, and I hope you all have in your lives someone who smiles like that when they think about you. “It stopped being acting.”

***

Anyone who knew them, though, knew they weren’t acting. The silliness they put on for the camera is all well and good, but I promise you they’re not like that 24/7. Even Lucille Ball was only Lucy while the cameras were on. But if you’re there with these guys away from the interwebs enough, it gets real. You see the way Lin closes his eyes when Jon is singing, or the way Jon smiles when Lin is out of the room and when Lin is in the room. Even the way the playacting always went on a beat too long, a touch too loud, was a sign. I knew they loved each other maybe before they knew they loved each other.

What I’m saying is, I was going to help these dudes if it killed them.

***

I stuck my head in their dressing room, kind of hoping they’d just be making out and I could go back to - but no. They were juggling. Jugg. Ling. I almost turned around and fake-looked at a camera like I was on The Office.

“We’re working on a bit,” Lin said, his voice just a little too high.

“What do you think?” Jon asked, talking just a little too fast.

They might as well have been shouting HELP ME, DAVEED, and I’m a sucker for being a hero. At least for Lin and Jon I apparently am.

“Guys, knock it off, I have thought of a truly perfect plan for Jon to wreak revenge on Oak.” Oak’s last prank war had ended with Jon’s sneakers getting filled with butter for reasons I’d never entirely understood. (Except that Oak told me to do it. What?)

“I’m in,” Lin said, just like that, and Jon was nodding his head off.

I made a point of looking up and down the hall. “Someone might catch us. Come on.”

Like lambs to the closet, they followed me.

There is not room in that thing for three grown men, so I stood at the doorway and leaned in. “Three things,” I said as fast as possible - which is pretty freaking fast. “One: I lied. Two: both of you like like the other. Three: I am locking you inside this damn thing until some adult conversation and a lot of making out happens. Bye!”

They didn’t come out for a full half hour, to the applause and whistles of all the cast and crew standing outside. (And all the cast and crew were standing outside.)

***

So now you know. Except one small additional thing:

That closet doesn’t lock. My friends, it doesn’t even have a keyhole.

Thank you, and good night!