Lissette Feliciano to Write & Direct Movie Adaptation of Gloria Estefan Musical

The Broadway musical debuted in 2015 and now it's coming to the big screen with director and screenwriter Lissette Feliciano

Emilio and Gloria Estefan

In this July 9, 2018 photo, Gloria and Emilio Estefan pose for a portrait at BiteSize Studio in Los Angeles to promote their touring musical "On Your Feet!." (Photo by Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP)

Since debuting onto the music scene in the 1970s, Gloria Estefan has had a long and prosperous career in the industry, along with numerous accolades. Besides selling millions of records, the Cuban American singer was the first Latina inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, was one of several Latinas who’ve received their own Barbie dolls, and has gone into acting, starring in the 2022 film Father of the Bride alongside Andy Garcia. Her inspiring life story has been turned into the award-winning and critically acclaimed Broadway musical On Your Feet, which featured many of her hit songs and ran for almost 750 performances. It first premiered in 2015 on Broadway and now it’s being adapted for the big screen by Sony Pictures, who have confirmed that Lissette Feliciano (Women is Losers) will write and direct the feature film, Deadline reported.

“Get ready because the Estefans are coming to the big screen!!! Their story. Their music. Their love. Their family. Their dream…Grateful is not a big enough word for all that is in my heart. ❤️ ❤️,” Feliciano said in an Instagram post announcing the news.

“A dream come true!!! Un sueño hecho realidad!!! ✨✨✨,” Estefan said in her own Instagram post.

The stage production of On Your Feet debuted on Broadway in 2015 with Cuban and Salvadoran American actress Ana Villafañe in the lead role as Estefan. It featured many songs from Estefan’s catalog including “Get on Your Feet,” “Conga,” “1-2-3,” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” as well as an original song “If I Never Got to Tell You.” Taking place over the course of thirty years, the play tells the inspiring true story about heart, heritage and two people who believed in their talent—and each other, according to their official website. From her childhood in Miami falling in love with music, to being the frontwoman of the Miami Sound Machine band, to her car accident and emergency spinal surgery, then ultimately, her return to the stage at the 1991 American Music Awards, it’s a powerful story of strength, resilience, and transformation. It went on to earn a Tony Award nomination for Choreography, seven Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, and three Drama League Award nominations.

In addition to Feliciano serving as the film’s director, the Estefans will serve as producers. Feliciano, who is of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian descent, is best known for her 2021 indie film Women is Losers. Starring Chilean actress Lorenza Izzo as Celina Guerrera and Cuban American actress Chrissie Fit, the film follows a Catholic schoolgirl in the ’70s who becomes pregnant, sets out to rise above her circumstances, and invests in a different future for herself. Upon premiering at SXSW, it was acquired by the streaming platform Max.

“When I look on the stage, I don’t think of it as me. We look at it as a production that we tried to create a wonderful journey and a kind of a roller coaster ride for the audience, and we were really trying to get the best possible show together, so when I sit there I look at the audience, I look at their reactions, I notice the nuances that the actors threw in every time that changes up the show. They never do two exact shows. That’s the beauty of live theater, it changes. The evolution of it has been incredible and it’s very exciting to watch,” Estefan said in a 2016 interview with WBUR, a Boston-based radio station, about the original show.

The film adaptation of On Your Feet is in early development and no casting decisions or release date have been announced.

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