Alongside her husband Emilio, Gloria Estefan made history when she brought Latin music to mainstream radio stations in the 1980s. The new Broadway musical On Your Feet celebrates the Estefans’ professional and personal accomplishments, focusing as much on their personal relationship as their music and using their incredible songs to tell the story.

Several performers have been involved with the show since it first began to develop. One of them is Eliseo Roman, who has watched the show take shape over the last several years while performing in the ensemble.

 On Your Feet came at a time when the integration of Latino American actors on Broadway was needed,” he said, noting that this Broadway season includes a number of plays and musicals focused on a wide range of cultures. “This is the first time in, probably, ever, that shows on Broadway are truly multicultural,” he said. “These are shows that are completely engulfed in culture and experience and tradition, and that’s a rare and delicious experience for the cast and the actors and the audience.”


Presenting a true story about minorities was also an intense responsibility, Roman noted, with immigration in the news and President Obama poised to become the first president to visit Cuba—the birthplace of both of the Estefans—in 80 years. For Roman, all of these elements are reflected in On Your Feet. “People moved here because of opportunities and freedoms,” he said. “Then they were ostracized. We forget that these people are American as well. That’s what makes America great: It’s a melting pot of cultural inclusion.”

In one memorable scene in the show, Emilio Estefan insists that he and his wife are as American as anyone else in the country. The scene draws cheers from the audience each night, and the audience response is proof of the universality of the sentiment, Roman said. “[The Estefan’s’] are great proof of what is possible in America. And our show being on Broadway—after not having too many Latino shows on the Broadway stage—is extraordinary.”

While the musical’s themes are universal, Roman said, it still took a long time to reach the stage. The Estefans were contacted about the project years ago, but the couple did not feel that it could happen until fairly recently. “We saw a change in our country with acceptance and the ability to open our eyes,” he said. With relations with Cuba resuming after more than half a century, he added, a story about the Cuban people (rather than the government) can help inspire conversations and discussion about how to improve ties between the two nations. “The Cuban experience is the human experience,” Roman said.

Since On Your Feet opened in November, Roman has noticed that audiences have not only been multicultural, but international. “She’s an international star,” he said of Gloria Estefan. More importantly, he added, people who only ever knew of Estefan’s music learn about the challenges the couple faced, and how they triumphed over adversity. “They realize what these people were able to create for themselves in this country with so many obstacles against them,” Roman said. “They were able to create the lives that they had chosen. American audiences will walk away knowing anything is possible in this country.

The Latino population will see themselves represented onstage, they can see who we are as people. Our music, passion, desire, joy, energy, love—all of this is reflected onstage. It’s not only the Latino experience, although it is represented that way. Hopefully, everyone who leaves will receive a little bit of that, and they will walk away with a greater understanding of a different culture.”



We’ve already told you about Cirque du Soleil Paramour, a groundbreaking new Broadway event that will transport you to the glamorous world of Golden Age Hollywood through eye-popping acrobatics and sumptuous music and dance. Coming to Broadway’s Lyric Theatre next month, it’s Cirque’s boldest, most heart-soaring spectacle ever—perfect for groups and travelers to NYC.

After you see Paramour, you’re going to want to be sure and book tickets to catch Cirque du Soleil Kurios, coming to the Big Top at Randall’s Island this fall. Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down. Here’s a peek: