The Marquis Theatre Box Office (46th Street between Broadway & 8th Avenue) officially opens today, Monday, August 17 for ON YOUR FEET!, the new Broadway musical based on the life story of seven-time GRAMMY winning international superstar Gloria Estefan and her husband, nineteen-time GRAMMY winning producer-musician-entrepreneur Emilio Estefan. ON YOUR FEET! opens on Broadway on Thursday, November 5, 2015, following preview performances beginning Monday, October 5, 2015 at the Marquis Theatre. The musical, directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Hairspray) and choreographed by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Memphis) with an original book by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman, The Bodyguard Musical), lands on Broadway following a world premiere summer engagement at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago.
Emilio and Gloria Estefan have sold over 100 million records, won more than two dozen GRAMMY Awards, and sold out stadiums across the world – but their music is only half the story. From the heart of Havana to the streets of Miami came a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the music industry had ever seen. ON YOUR FEET! is a new Broadway musical that follows the Estefans’ journey to superstardom, set to their chart-topping, smash hits, including “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “1-2-3,” “Get On Your Feet,” “Mi Tierra,” Don’t Want To Lose You Now,” and “Reach,” in addition to an original song written by Gloria and her daughter Emily Estefan.
In the fall of 2014, the production launched an international casting search, Reach Gloria (#ReachGloria) which offered performers around the world a chance to audition for the cast of ON YOUR FEET!. Thousands of Broadway hopefuls – from Los Angeles, to Australia, to Colombia, to Singapore – auditioned for roles by submitting videos online, or attending one of two open casting calls held in New York City and the Estefans’ home-city of Miami, Florida. A lifelong fan of Gloria Estefan – who even attended the same Miami high school as the pop star – Cuban-American singer and actress Ana Villafañe learned of the Miami open casting call last fall and, although she was unable to attend, sent the casting office a video audition. Within three days, she was called to audition for Jerry Mitchell and the Estefans.
“She walked into the room, and I immediately thought to myself – ‘this is it’,” said director Jerry Mitchell. “Not only was she beautifully reminiscent of a young Gloria, but she embodied her energy and spirit in such a captivating way. And then she fully rose to the occasion by giving a sensational audition.”
Villafañe makes her Broadway debut as Gloria Estefan in ON YOUR FEET! Her film and television credits include: the award-winning Magic City Memoirs (executive producer Andy Garcia), “Los Americans” (alongside Esai Morales, Lupe Ontiveros and Raymond Cruz) created by Dennis Leoni (“Resurrection Boulevard”), Hiding (Anchor Bay), the Hulu Original Series “South Beach: Fever” set in her native Miami, and the female lead in the upcoming superhero feature film Max Steel (Mattel).
Villafañe stars opposite Josh Segarra as Emilio. Segarra has made a name for himself on the New York stage in roles such as ‘Boland’ in Second Stage Theater’s Dogfight directed by Joe Mantello, and as ‘Mick’ in the Broadway and Off-Broadway runs of the critically-acclaimed Lysistrata Jones. His extensive film and television work includes Judd Apatow’s recent hit comedy Trainwreck, a starring role as ‘Billy Cepeda’ in the comedy series “Sirens” for USA, NBC’s “Chicago PD”, PBS’s “The Electric Company, and guest appearances in the Emmy-winning Showtime series “Homeland” and FOX’s “The Following”.
“It’s a rare and wonderful thing when you find an actor who wholly matches the material,” said Mitchell. “Josh has been a part of this project since the very first reading, and brings such an incomparable spark, passion, and humor to the role of Emilio, that we held onto him with all our might.”