Friday, 26 July 2019

INTERVIEW: Christie Prades, currently starring in On Your Feet at the London Coliseum

Christie Prades is currently starring as Gloria Estefan in the UK premier of On Your Feet, having played at the Leicester Curve it is now playing at the London Coliseum before embarking on a UK tour. She previously understudied the role in the Broadway company and then lead the American touring company of the show. Her other credits include In the Heights (Miami & American Stage Theatre), West Side Story (Actors Playhouse) and Orange is the New Black. 

You’re currently making your UK debut in On Your Feet, you opened the show at the Leicester Curve before heading to the West End and performing with the show at the London Coliseum. How is the UK treating you so far? 

The UK is treating me absolutely wonderfully!I’ve always wanted to visit London, so to be able to make two dreams of mine come true in one shot is a blessing! Audiences have been incredible, cast members are beyond amazing and insanely talented, and London life sits nicely with me I must admit.

Tell us a bit about the show.

Our story is about the beginning stages of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s life involving both their work life and love life. It’s a story about two dreamers believing in their dreams enough to break through all of the barriers and become a huge success. It’s also a story about family and culture. No matter where you’re from, you understand the pride these two individuals feel in remaining true to who they are and where they come from.

And you’re playing the one and only Gloria Estefan, tell us bit about her as a character. 

Gloria is a vibrant, intelligent, warm-hearted, shy young girl in the beginning of our story. She DID NOT enjoy being in the spotlight or the center of attention, but DID love writing and playing her music. She remains true to her innate six sense in feeling things when something is either going well or not. She is beyond giving with her family and father whom she takes care of. 

Obviously, the character you play is based on a real person who is still living so tell us a bit about how you researched the role and how it developed in rehearsals. 

I’ve definitely created a ‘Gloria’ of my own as I branched out from our Broadway company. I learned to play her completely open and honestly. To put in MY own intentions and feelings within portraying her. I realized we were more alike then I thought. 

And how does it feel to have worked your way up to Leading Lady from understudying the role? 

I root for the underdog. Always. There’s so much to work up to, and the journey is the best part of what we do! So when given the opportunity, I jumped on it proudly, and worked my tail off to make it here. Simply, I’m proud to have been the underdog!

You were asked personally by Gloria Estefan if you’d lead the US tour,
how was it to be asked by the woman herself to lead the touring company? 

A dream. I still can’t believe it happened. I was so shocked in the moment, I probably gave her an awkward 2 minutes on stage before I answered. There’s videos to prove it. 

And your On Your Feet! journey has now brought you to London, how does it feel to be making your West End debut? 

I could not be more honored to be making my West End Debut with this show. This story just speaks volumes to me, because i get to represent my Cuban people and my people in Miami on the other side of the world! It’s beyond special. 

Have you been able to see much of London since you’ve been over here? Whats been your favourite thing you’ve done or seen so far?

I’ve been the ultimate tourist out here in London. Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. James Cathedral, London Eye, Covent favorite by far has been Buckingham Palace. I’m a geek for the Royal Family. 

Do you have any dream roles you’d like to play in the future? 

I would love to originate a role!

And if you could be in any show here in London, which one would it be? 

I would love to be a wife in SIX the musical! Rock out with those fierce ladies!

Upon returning to the United States, do you have any plans? 

Open to so many new tv shows/films or musicals coming up!

In one sentence, why should people come and see On Your Feet? 

People need inspiration, hope and confidence in themselves today more than ever. This show grants you the possibility to see yourself in success mode. In all aspects of your life. Life is hard, that doesn’t mean your dreams and ultimate happiness can't happen. Gloria and Emilio prove that.
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