Ana Villafañe, a Cuban-American singer, dancer and actress from Miami, will play Gloria Estefan in On Your Feet! opposite Josh Segarra as the superstar’s husband, producer Emilio Estefan. Villafañe, who attended the same Miami high school as the pop star, couldn’t make the open casting call last fall but sent a video audition, according to an announcement Monday from the production team. She got the call to audition for director Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Hairspray) and the Estefans, and was cast in the show.
The musical — a rare Latino-centered offering for Broadway that’s sure to benefit from Gloria Estefan’s global superstar status — is based on the life story of the seven-time Grammy-winning singer and her husband, who owns 19 of his own Grammys. It’s slated to open at Broadway’s Nederlander-operated Marquis Theatre on November 5, following previews beginning October 5. In addition to staging by Mitchell, the show will have choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Memphis), with a book by Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman). Prior to Broadway, the show will try out at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre from June 2-July 5.
“She walked into the room, and I immediately thought to myself – ‘this is it’,” Mitchell said of Villafañe in a prepared announcement. “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’s film and television credits include Magic City Memoirs (executive producer Andy Garcia), Los Americans and the upcoming Hulu original series South Beach: Fever as well as the female lead in Max Steel (Mattel), set for global release this summer.
Segarra has appeared in New York in Second Stage Theater’s Dogfight and Lysistrata Jones. On television, he stars in USA’s comedy series Sirens and has a recurring part on NBC’s Chicago PD as well as PBS’ The Electric Company, and guest appearances on Showtimes Homeland and FX’s The Following. This summer, he’ll appear in the Judd Apatow feature film Trainwreck.
The company will also feature Andréa Burns (In The Heights) as Gloria Fajardo (Gloria’s mother); Alma Cuervo (Beauty And The Beast) as Consuelo (Gloria’s grandmother); Alexandria Suarez as Little Gloria; and Noah Johnston as little Emilio.
David Rockwell (Kinky Boots, On The Twentieth Century) has designed the sets, with costumes by Emilio Sosa (Porgy & Bess), lighting by Kenneth Posner (Wicked, Hairspray), sound by Steve Kennedy and projections by Darrel Maloney. The show is produced by James L. Nederlander and Estefan Enterprises Inc., in partnership with Bernie Yuman. In anticipation of a wide-ranging social media campaign to publicize the show, the production also released three videos about the Estefan’s and the making of the musical.