Time For Houston To Stand Up For On Your Feet! The Story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan

The national tour of On Your Feet! The Story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan
The national tour of On Your Feet! The Story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan Photo by Doug Hinebaugh

When the national tour of On Your Feet! The Story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan  returns to Houston next week, they'll be bringing along Glendaliris Torres-Greaux, a member of the ensemble who after being born in Puerto Rico, moved to the Houston area when she was 7 years old and graduated from Sam Houston State University.

She also was an "educational apprentice" giving her the opportunity to learn about teaching theater last summer at Theatre Under the Stars which is bringing the show to Houston. So with all those ties firmly established, Katy's Mayde Creek High School graduate is more than happy to show off her skills in a musical that features some of the Estefans' best songs including  “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” “Conga” amd “Get On Your Feet.”

Whether they've seen the musical or not, most people know at least parts of the real life story of the Estefans who were able to score international acclaim on their way to winning 26 Grammy awards with their distinctive sound fusing Cuban and pop music genres that dominated the airwaves particularly in the 1980s.

Also well known is the devastating injury Gloria suffered in March 1990 when on her way to perform in a concert, her tour bus collided with a a semi on a Pennsylvania highway.  Doctors at the time didn't know if she'd ever walk again after she suffered traumatic injuries to her spine. It took her a year to recover.

In 2022, during her senior year of college, Torres-Greaux was in a production of the musical in Puerto Rico in which she played the role of Gloria Estefan's sister. Following that she returned to Texas to finish her senior year.

She had planned to move to New York City at some point after graduation and when she saw an audition notice online in New York for the national tour and she applied.  "I got a call from my agent three weeks later that I had gotten the job.   My life completely changed in the best way possible."

As a member of the ensemble, she says, she gets to play "the DJ promoter, the Latin DJ, and I also get to cover the mother in the show whenever the actress gets sick I can go on for her." Which she says hasn't happened yet,"

She wanted to be in the show so much, she says, because the story resonates so very deeply with her. "As a Latina, lots of musicals out there they represent our culture and On Your Feet is one of those shows that represents who I am as a person and what it means to come to the United States and fight for that dream just like Gloria and Emilio Estefan."

Gloria, who was born in Havana, was 2 years old when her family moved to Miami. In 1975, she met Emilio who had formed the group the Miami Latin Boys. She and her cousin  had the chance to sing before them at a wedding reception and were invited to join the group which eventually became Miami Sound Machine, then Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine and then just Gloria Estefan.

"This woman has gone through so much in her life. Even before she was famous, the struggle of being a Latin singer and songwriter and trying to break into the American sound. It was difficult for go into it, It was one of the best decisions that she made, trying to do it herself with Emilio.

"At one point they were told to change their name,  to change the music if they wanted to break into the American sound and they said 'We're not going to do that,'" she says. "It just says a lot about you don’t have to change yourself to follow your dreams.

"Gloria and Emilio Estefans' music has touched so many people across generations and their story tells us hard work and what the American dream really looks like."

Performances are scheduled for January 30 through February 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For more information, call 713-558-8887 or visit $25-$139.
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing