Interview: Alexis Semevolos-Velazquez of ON YOUR FEET at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

A Family Friendly Show that will Lift Your Spirits

By: Apr. 13, 2021

Interview: Alexis Semevolos-Velazquez of ON YOUR FEET at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Put on your dancing shoes and get on your feet as Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre presents the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan in On Your Feet! This jukebox musical first opened on Broadway in 2015 with book by Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and music by Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Take a musical journey to discover how Gloria and Estefan met, fell in love, and rose to stardom. With familiar songs like "Get On Your Feet" and "Rhythm is Gonna Get You", this heartfelt and high energy show will have you singing and dancing along. Actor Alexis Semevolos-Velazquez, who plays Gloria Estefan, talks about her experience portraying this iconic entertainer.

BWW: Tell us a little about yourself

Alexis: I grew up in CT, but both of my parents are New Yorkers. I loved musicals as a kid. My parents would take me to shows, and they put me in dance lessons. Growing up, I did community theatre and took voice lessons. I went to the Harpt School for Musical Theatre. After school I moved to NYC to pursue musical theatre, and I have been working on and off ever since.

BWW: Were you a fan of Gloria and Emilio Estefan before the show?

Alexis: Absolutely! I grew up listening to their music. Having a Latino family (from Puerto Rico), Gloria's been an icon for us. It's such beautiful music. My grandma called me when the musical first came out to tell me I had to go to auditions in NYC.

BWW: What is your favorite song to perform in the show and why?

Alexis: "Coming Out of the Dark", which is the final piece that Gloria sings. It was written and performed after her transformation from her accident. The song is all about overcoming huge hurdles, which she had to do physically and personally. She sang this song her first time performing after undergoing major surgery. It's very uplifting and inspirational. I think it's really a great song for what we've all been through lately. I feel very connected to the message of the piece right now--coming out of the darkness and thanking those who have helped you.

BWW: How does it feel to portray a real person on stage?

Alexis: It is a huge responsibility. Especially when it's someone who has been so iconic for me as a female and Latino performer. And she's so nice-if you've ever followed her, you can tell, she's just a stellar person and performer. The director and others have been part of the original Broadway production, and they got to know her really well as they were working on the show. I felt as though I was in very good hands as I listened to her music and did my research to be able to portray her accurately.

BWW: What is the most challenging part of the show?

Alexis: For me, it would be stamina. This is one of the most difficult and busy roles I've ever done-she never leaves the stage other than for quick changes. It's crazy! There are 23 costume changes, and you always have to stay in the moment. That was and is the most challenging part-making sure I'm healthy and strong and rested. I have to take care of myself and stay super-attentive in order to hit everything the way it needs to be. At first it was really intimidating.

BWW: Was there anything about Gloria and Estefan's story that you didn't know before getting this role?

Alexis: I have done this show before, so I'm thinking back to when I first studied for the role. The interesting thing for me is the relationship she has with her mother. It reminds me a little of my mother. There's a lot of love, but her mom is also stubborn. It was really interesting to see how her mom pushed her and so forth. I also enjoyed learning more about Cuban culture. I learned about the revolution. It is such a devastating thing to hear about how they had to basically start over and how they made it through something so difficult. Some of my castmates have family members that experienced it or they went through it themselves. It is touching and incredible, and I've learned so much.

BWW: So many of Gloria and Estefan's songs that are well-known are very upbeat. What song do you think will be the biggest crowd-pleaser?

Alexis: Probably "Conga" at the end of act 1. It's an incredible number. I don't want to give too much away, so we'll just leave it at that.

BWW: Tell us a little about the choreography.

Alexis: We were lucky enough to have the original dance captain-Natalie. We had to change a little since we're performing with face shields, but it's basically what was done on Broadway. The choreography is all influenced by Cuban dancing-salsa, and so forth. There's a lot of beautiful partner dancing along with some 80s pop style dancing, so it's a lot of fun.

BWW: If you had an opportunity to portray another real person on stage, who would you want to play and why?

Alexis: I haven't thought about that before. "The Cher Show" came out on Broadway a couple years ago. I think that would be one role I'd like to tackle.

BWW: Are there any final thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?

Alexis: I think this is a special show about community and culture and family. It celebrates some of the kindest and hardest working people in the music industry. This audience will love the show-it's family friendly and has such great music. As actors being out of work for a while, we are grateful to the theatre and its audience for giving us a chance to tell this story.

On Your Feet! runs April 15-May 29 at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre. Visit to get your tickets today!

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