Editor’s note: As part of our upcoming Music Issue on Friday, we offer this interview by our Chris Azzopardi with queen of Latin pop Gloria Estefan, who discusses her planned Broadway show, her gay fans and how drag queens saved her.
You’d be lucky to see Gloria Estefan busting out the conga these days, but that doesn’t mean she’s not keeping on her toes. A spot on Glee last season, a new album, an upcoming Broadway musical, restaurants, hotels — the singer is busier than ever, she says. We caught up with Estefan to chat about plans for her upcoming autobiographical stage show, being “saved” by gay fans and punking people with Gloria drag queens.
Dallas Voice: What’s life like now for you compared to what it was in the ’80s? Estefan: Supposedly I’m leading a quieter life, but I’m busier than I’ve ever been! In the ’80s, I was on the same cycle: write, go into the studio, record, then go on tour. All I could do was sleep, exercise and sing in the shows. I could do absolutely nothing else. Now, we just do so many other things. Back then we didn’t have two hotels and seven restaurants — all that came later — so in essence, we’re probably busier now than we’ve ever been. Plus: We’re working on that Broadway show. It’s very exciting.
The Broadway musical is inspired by your own life. How did the idea first come to you? We’ve had many offers through the years to do something like this, so we’ve been working on an idea for a Broadway-type show for over 10 years. You can’t do it on your entire life. We’ve been able to synthesize what part of our story would make a great Broadway show. It’s really on the fast track, and we hope to be done with the book by January. It’s being written by Alex Dinelaris, who just did The Bodyguard in London. He wrote that and he really gets it. I really loved his approach. We’re incorporating the songs with a meaning into the storyline, and of course I’ll do some rewrites, some interesting little turns and some new music as well. I love that, because the creative process for me is my favorite part of everything. Also, we’re very excited about finding a young Gloria and Emilio [Estefan, her husband]. Whoever plays me already has their work cut out for her!
There’s been talk of Jennifer Lopez playing you. How likely is that? I don’t know where people get all these rumors, quite honestly. I don’t think J. Lo would wanna do eight shows a week on Broadway. I don’t think that’s high on her list of priorities! But yeah, it’s an iconic role and I would love to find somebody new — a breakout. I honestly think there’s a reality show in the search for them, so we may even do that. It’d be a fun thing to share. After seeing Smash – I used to love that show and I don’t know why it got canceled – it’d be cool to do something like that.