Billboard on Broadway Podcast: Gloria Estefan Talks Seeing Her Life Onstage in 'On Your Feet!'

Matthew Murphy
Billboard on Broadway Podcast: "ON YOUR FEET!"

For nearly two years now, Broadway audiences have “Conga”’d through the Marquis Theatre at On Your Feet!, the vibrant musical telling the story of pioneering singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan’s life and career. On the eve of the show announcing an 80-week national tour along with further productions planned worldwide, Estefan stopped by the Billboard on Broadway podcast with Ana Villafañe, who plays her in the show, to discuss the show’s journey to the stage.

In their conversation with host Rebecca Milzoff, Estefan and Villafañe recall the “terrifying” audition room where they first met. “All I could do was feel nervous for the girls sitting out there,” Estefan recalls. When Villafañe walked in, “It was one of those gut things. I felt her before I saw her. I go, ‘Damn, this girl could be my daughter’ -- there’s such a resemblance.”

Villafañe goes on to discuss the intricacies of learning to sing in Estefan’s unique style (a process that included working with Estefan’s personal vocal coach), while Estefan reflects on the eerie experience of seeing someone portray her, her own lifelong love of musical theater, and her early struggles with her husband, Emilio, to bring Cuban sounds to pop music. 

Listen to the full podcast episode below. On Your Feet! is running at the Marquis Theatre through August 20.