Pop diva Gloria Estefan brings her musical, On Your Feet, to Broadway Nov. 5. We chatted with the songstress about her journey from the conga line to the stage.
As an accomplished artist and performer, what does Broadway mean to you?
I’m a huge fan of Broadway. When I was a teenager, I’d save up my money and see any show that came to Miami. [It helped me understand] what it took for those performers to do what they do for eight shows a week. They were singing, dancing and acting. In order to do Broadway, you have to be a triple threat.
What’s it like watching your life story onstage?
It’s surreal. I get particularly emotional when I see my dad portrayed in the show because I didn’t have him for a long time—he died when I was 23 and he was 47.
Ana Villafañe is making her Broadway debut playing you. What made you pick her?
Ana has a deep connection to the story. The first song she sang professionally was my “Reach.” And after we hired her I found out that she went to my high school, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, and Lourdes girls have a tight bond. She’s also half-Cuban, half-Salvadoran and was raised in Miami.
Broadway is pretty diverse right now between your show, Hamilton, Allegiance, The Color Purple…
Diversity on Broadway is important. America is changing, and we want to engage the audience who maybe wouldn’t think of going to the theater. People will pay for tickets if they realize they’re represented.
Now that your life story is onstage, I think it’s time for you to do a show! Thoughts?
[Laughs] I get offered that a lot. It’s just that I’m always working! I’m busier than ever with seven restaurants and two hotels. Also, my daughter is about to release her first album—and I have a grandson! But, then again, never say never…