Backstage with Eric Ulloa of 'ON YOUR FEET!' on Broadway

It's been a long while since I last interviewed someone here on SMM - well over a year actually now that I think about it, but I'm glad to say I'm back at it again after a long hiatus. Today I talk to Eric Ulloa who is currently in the company of ON YOUR FEET!, the Gloria and Emilio Esetfan musical playing at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway.

Directed by Kinky Boots' very own Jerry Mitchell, the show follows the story of the Estefan pair and their rise to fame; Eric plays multiple roles in the show including Chris and Dr. Neuwirth, as well as understudying the lead role of Emilio Estefan. I sat down with Eric to talk about what inspired him to be a part of the project:

S: First thing's first: what was it that made you want to be on Broadway; was there any show you saw in particular that inspired you to make your dream a reality?
E: I didn't even know there was something called "musical theatre" until I saw the cast of Titanic (the 2005 Broadway musical, of course) on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. From that moment though, this 15 year old Cuban from Miami wanted nothing else than to be a part of this amazing community. I actually just met Rosie about two weeks ago backstage after our show and I got the chance to tell her this story.

S: That's so touching - it's so nice that this big story finally got to come around full circle! How did you take that dream to Broadway; what was your Broadway debut?
E: 'On Your Feet!' actually marks my Broadway debut! The road to this point has had me all over this country and world, performing at various incredible theatres. This road has also seen me work on the other side of the table, as a playwright, director and librettist.

S: Wow, that's so cool to have had such a diverse career before you even got to Broadway! What was the first show you ever got to see on Broadway?
E: The first show I ever saw on Broadway was 'Annie Get Your Gun' starring Bernadette Peters in the very same theatre I perform in 8 shows a week now... The Marriot Marquis!

S: Well talk about coming around full circle - now it must be so much fun to sing the Estefan songs every night in that very theatre, but what's your favourite part of the show?
E: Hands down, it's the moment that Ana Villafane start to sing "Anything For You". In that moment, it's as if Ana flies away and the very soul of Gloria Estefan inhabits her. I remember the first time I heard it in rehearsal and my jaw dropped to the ground.

S: What's your favourite Estefan song and if you could put any Estefan song into the show that isn't there already, which one would it be?
E: I personally love "Mi Tierra"... in fact, I love that whole album! It's perfection. As far as songs I wish we had in the show... hmm... I guess I always wish they'd added "Can't Stay Away From You".

S: What do you love the most about getting to perform at Broadway's very own Marquis Theatre?
E: The audiences for this show have been amazing. The roar from that crowd each night at the curtain call makes you just feel like a rock star!

S: That must be an amazing feeling! What would you do if they came up to you and said something like "Hey Eric, do you wanna come and play Emilio Estefan in a West End production of 'On Your Feet!'?
E: I'd start packing my bags! Hear that Jerry, Alex, Gloria and Emilio? Consider me ready and passport in hand!

S: That'd be amazing - let's make it happen, haha! But if you could be in any other show on Broadway, which one would it be and why?
E: I'd love to be a few years older and play Bruce in 'Fun Home'. That musical just gutted me when I saw it and it would be an honor to play such a complex and painful character.

S: I saw 'Fun Home' and cried when I saw it because it was so beautiful - great choice! And finally - a slightly random one here - but if you were stuck on a desert island and could only have three Broadway show tunes to listen to forevermore, which three?
E: You do know this is akin to 'Sophie's Choice', right? Lol! Okay, here we go... "Another Winter in a Summer Town" from Grey Gardens, "Somewhere" from West Side Story and "Washington is on Your Side" from Hamilton... I'm gonna think of 20 more that I'd wanna hear moment after this... I know it! UGH!

You can catch Eric Ulloa and the rest of the company of ON YOUR FEET! now on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre. If you don't live in the US, you can download the show's live cast album which is made available for download from April 29th.

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