The hit Broadway musical On Your Feet! is based on the lives of seven-time GRAMMY® winning international superstar Gloria Estefan and her husband, 19-time GRAMMY® winning producer-musician-entrepreneur Emilio Estefan. The show follows the Estefans to superstardom, set to their chart-topping hits, including ‘Rhythm is Gonna Get You,’ ‘Conga,’ ‘1-2-3,’ and more.
Ahead of the show’s opening at Houston’s Hobby Center, we chatted with Alma Cuervo, cast as Consuelo Garcia, Gloria’s grandmother.
TLM: Can you sum up the storyline of the production?
“It tells of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s origins in Cuba, their early lives in Miami, their coming together to form the Miami Sound Machine and how they fell in love as they became world-renowned musical stars. The show has a book by Alex Dinelaris (Oscar-winning screenwriter of Birdman) and hits by the Miami Sound Machine, with many of the original band in our onstage orchestra. Plus spectacular choreography by Tony-nominated Sergio Trujillo.
TLM: Tell us about your role.
“I play a relatively small role on stage but my character—her maternal grandmother, Consuelo Garcia—had a very big influence on Gloria’s life.
TLM: How did your background prepare your for your role?
“I’m originally from Tampa, Florida. My grandparents came there from Spain in the early 1900s, but two of them lived for a time as children in Cuba on the way to the States. Tampa has a very large Spanish and Cuban population, and there was a big influx of Cuban families there when Fidel came to power. So many of my friends and family have influenced every aspect of how I play Consuelo—from the accent, to her walk, to her energy and soul.
TLM: What is the highlight of the production (without giving to much away) for you?
“The excitement brought by the onstage orchestra—the percussion, the brass! No matter how tired I am arriving at the theatre, standing in the wings listening to them before an entrance invigorates and inspires me.
TLM: What is your favorite song, and why?
“It changes daily. I’m partial to ‘If I Never Got to Tell You,’ the only song specifically written for this production, by Gloria and her daughter Emily. I also really love ‘Con Los Años Que Me Quedan,’ and was told a beautiful story by a nurse last week about how she sang this song to a young boy who could not speak. After several months, he began singing it back to her and slowly became able to speak.
TLM: Lastly, tell our readers why they must go and experience On Your Feet!
“People who want to experience a joyous, uplifting, and spectacular evening in the theatre should definitely make their way to the Hobby to see the show. Also, in these unsettled times, it’s important to be reminded of the contributions and patriotism of our immigrant communities. Come and conga!
On Your Feet! November 21-26 at Houston’s Hobby Center | Get tickets here
Cover: Christie Prades as Gloria Estefan and Company, ON YOUR FEET! | Photo Matthew Murphy