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Interview: Gaby Albo of ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at National Tour

Read BroadwayWorld's interview with Gaby Albo starring in the On Your Feet! National Tour.

On Your Feet (Non-Equity)After seeing the wonderful touring production of On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio we had the chance to sit down with the phenomenal Gaby Albo who plays Gloria in the National Tour to learn a little bit about her journey in theatre up to this point and the importance of this story.

What was your journey like up to this point? Did you always want to be a performer?

It's an interesting story because I was actually not into art at all. I was a really shy child. I was actually a very sporty girl. I did gymnastics, I did swimming, but none of the arts. So one day one of my good friends is the cousin of a famous artist like now she's internationally known, told me she was starting a musical theatre camp for summer. And my friend was like "Let's go, let's go." I was like "no, there's no way I'm going" and I don't know what she did but she convinced me. I ended up going and in the beginning, I walked out of the classes. I did not enjoy it at all. But then I saw that with time I started to become more open and more extroverted in regular life. So I kind of liked that so I stayed in the regular classes. Then one day I was with the hairdresser, and the hairdresser is my mom's friend, and I was singing. She said, "Gaby, you're such a bad singer why don't you go with my friend that's a voice teacher to see what you can get out of that?" And I guess that changed my life. If it wasn't for her maybe I wouldn't have thought about it. It was so random and I don't even know why I went but I went and I'm glad.

What was your education like after that? Did you major in theatre?

In Mexico there's not a theater university, you know? So I started taking regular individual classes and dance classes, singing lessons, and stuff like that. But then when it I got to the point of thinking about what I was going to do, career-wise, I had the opportunity that my dad helped me and I went to AMDA in New York. That was an integrated program so I did the musical theater program at AMDA.

What was your breakout role?

I think it was booking the National tour of West Side Story. I was auditioning for Maria but then she renewed her contract so they were like "Okay, she's renewing it, but you can alternate with her and you play Rose the rest of the time." And that's when I went International. In Mexico, I did a couple of other things. I did Cats, Mentiras, which is a really long-running and famous show here in Mexico. I was on La Voz (The Voice) and other stuff here but definitely, I think the peak of my career is now. This is what I've been waiting for.

Let's dive into that journey a little bit. You were in the Spanish production of On Your Feet! in Washington DC, correct?

Yes, I was in the Spanish Premiere. That was really interesting. I was in Mexico doing Aladdin and on my day off I was watching Netflix with my dad and this actor in the television show looked just like our director, Luis Salgado. I was going to send him a picture and tell him he had a twin but that would have been so random so I didn't. Then a couple of days later he texted me through Instagram and was like "Gaby, I've been thinking about you because we're casting a show and we haven't found our main characters. I wanted to know if you wanted to submit your materials." And that's how I got into the Spanish premiere of On Your Feet.

What was the process like going from the Spanish production to the English production?

That's a really frequent question and I think people think that it would be easier, but not, it was way harder. The Spanish production was so recent and I had all this information and all this work saved in my body, my muscles, and then I had to relearn and erase that information. It was hard but it was also a chance for us to dig deeper into the story, our relationships, and our.... everything, you know stage-wise, a lot of things changed. Obviously, the whole language, which is my second language so for me it resonates more in Spanish. It's just easier and it was a challenge doing it in English.

But I enjoyed it. I think we've been finding a lot of good new things and I think this time has allowed the show to continue growing. We are going to keep finding more new moments. Luis had a lot to do with that. He likes to just begin with a lot of heritage and the meaning of things. I don't know if you saw the original production but this is much different, it's more spiritual, more rooted.

Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

I think for me the second part of the show is amazing. Everybody thinks that they're just gonna go out on the road and sing Conga and have fun. But I think the second act goes even deeper and is much denser as an actress. I enjoy it more. For me, it's so moving how the community can uplift somebody but not just somebody, a community, a culture. So for me, that's so special.

When she's having her surgery and she's connecting to all of her ancestors and connecting to her heritage. It's the soul of the people that came before that uplift her. It's so interesting. I love that part. It's definitely one of my toughest moments from Wrapped to the finale for me that's one big moment. One cannot exist without the other. It's so beautiful.

What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this show?

What I'm looking for is that they leave surprised, because as I said, people might think that they're just gonna sing and dance and have a good time but my purpose is to touch them and I think they can leave the theatre deeply touched. This is not just the story that empowers a community; It empowers everybody. Everybody can relate at some point. And even though these are famous people they are talking about their personal human experiences. The challenges that a regular person can have and how you can get out of it. I think everybody can relate to and be inspired by it.

Last question, what was it like to meet Emilio and Gloria Estefan?

It was nervewracking. It was exciting. It was a lot. To portray these people for two hours, their story, where they are, and when they are like the most important people in the industry. So...it was a lot of things all at the same time but it was really a highlight of my life. It will be in my heart for the rest of my life.

Gaby, thank you so much for taking time out of your break to speak with us.

It was my pleasure. Enjoy the holidays!

You can catch the National Tour of On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan at a theatre near you between now and May. All the tour details and tickets are available at onyourfeetmusical.com.



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'This highly personal story would be nothing without a deep connection to family. Francisca Tapia's (Gloria Fajardo) voice was phenomenal but her acting was so realistic she moved the audience from being slightly annoyed with her to being frustrated when Gloria refuses to speak to her daughter, and finally to empathizing with her as she worries about her daughter's life. She did a magnificent job at being a stubborn, misunderstood, mother. When it is finally revealed that she had given up on her own dreams for the sake of her family the audience was so endeared by her acting they couldn't help but have a change of heart.' BWW.


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Bryan Stanton is a theatre educator in San Antonio,TX. Prior to jumping into the classroom he worked as an Event and Show Producer for both SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld San Diego. While in San... (read more about this author)


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