On Your Feet and Ana Villafañe
I won the lottery for On Your Feet yesterday, the musical based on the lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
First of all, I grew up to their music. I wished my mom saw it with me. She would love it. Their music brings so much joy. It affects me in a physical way; i.e. I must dance to it.
I saw the show because I wanted to have a good time at the theater. And that's exactly what I got. The Marquis Theater probably has the most positive, loving, generous audience on Broadway right now. Everyone was there to have a good time. They weren't high brow artists wanting to be impressed, but men and women of various ethnicity enjoying the music of these great artists. It was like a concert. I was dancing, hollering, aww-ing, laughing, even singing (you just can't help it)!
What I love about this musical is the talent on stage. Seventeen of which are making their Broadway debut thanks to this production. This is why we need diversity on stage. Specific stories CAN relate to mainstream audiences.
Now let's talk about my Actor Crush of the Week - Ana Villafañe.
She is a star.
For someone who is making her Broadway debut, she is killing it. She got Gloria. Not in a stereotypical way, but she got her essence and meld it into herself. Her voice sounded like Gloria, she performed like her, she empathized with her. I love how she uses her whole body when she sings. She goes for it. No hints of hesitation or judgement.
I learned something from watching her. Just go for it. Take your place and own it. When you do, the audience will be with you. Many times, I judge myself. Asking, is this believable? Am I too big? Too small? Fuck it. You're the one up there. Do you. All the audience does is watch.
Ana's scene work could be more vulnerable or messy in emotional moments. But this is just nitpicking. I understand how hard that is to show on a proscenium-type Broadway theater.
Sidebar: Philip Seymour Hoffman could do it in A Death of a Salesman. Masterclass. His private self filled up that whole theater.
Ana's star is on the rise and she is ready for it. Looking forward to watching Max Steel, a super-hero movie by Mattel that she will be leading in. Btw, how did you shoot that while being on Broadway? Every Monday? Respect.