In Theatre Trip’s “Spotlight On” series, we’re chatting with some of the most inspiring people in the theatre industry. And today we’re doing a special feature on Christie Prades – the amazingly talented actress who is currently starring in the West End production of On Your Feet!
Before the West End debut of On Your Feet, Christie also played the role of Gloria Estefan on Broadway and the US tour. Christie has also booked national commercials, and she has worked as a bilingual vocalist and writer for multiple artists. So make sure to keep reading to learn more about Christie’s background, along with her pre-show rituals and tips for aspiring actors and actresses!
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What was it that initially inspired you to step into the theatre world?
“I was originally doing music recording, and I studied dance and acting outside of my college schooling. I initially got involved in theatre when I booked the role of Vanessa in the In the Heights production in Miami with half of the Broadway/tour cast coming down from New York to be a part of it as well.”
Can you tell us a bit about what it’s like to play the role of Gloria Estefan in On Your Feet?
“It honestly feels surreal, even after all this time of being a part of this production. She has always been such an inspiration and example to me since I was a young girl, so to be able to get the opportunity to play her night after night is a true honor and dream.”
Would you say that you have much in common with Gloria?
“Well aside from being Cuban-American and growing up in the same neighborhood in Miami, I actually went to the same college as Emilio, and got accepted to continue my schooling at the university Gloria graduated from. Not only that, but her mother and my mother share the same birthday as well as the same profession (teacher). Not only that but my mother is from the same city as Emilio, (Santiago de Cuba).”
Is there a particular song from the show that is especially meaningful to you?
“I love every song, but if I had to choose it’d have to be “Tradicion” as well as “Mi Tierra” because it resonates with my culture and Cuban background. They are songs about community, pride in ones culture, love and authenticity.”
Do you have any pre-show rituals that you like to do before stepping on stage?
“I love to take a second in my own space right in the middle of the stage behind the curtain. Just to listen to the audience chatter, feel the energy, say my prayers, and gravitate my feet to the ground and energy to my heart, lungs and spirit.”
What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in your career so far?
“I would have to stay remaining consistent and present with each show, 8 times a week for the past three years. It’s very easy to just tap in to a sort of mechanical way of doing the show, but I refuse to just phone it in. If I’m stepping on that stage, I’m giving the audience 1000% of what I have to offer.”
“The casting team behind the table wants you to succeed, so go in there with all your unique tools in your craft toolbox and give it all you’ve got. Organically and honestly. If it’s for you, you’ll get the job.”
Can we talk a little bit about routines and habits? Are there any daily or morning routines that you like to follow in order to stay focused in such a competitive industry?
“I feel my day doesn’t really begin unless I get into the gym and have a full workout. Stretching, cardio, weights, the whole nine. In order for me to remain with a consistent stamina, I always make sure to stay to my highest athletic ability. It just keeps me mentally, physically and spiritually healthy.”
Are there any dream roles that you would love to play one day?
“I would love to create a new role in a new film, TV show or musical.”
What advice would you give to those who are aspiring to perform on Broadway or West End one day?
“When you go into the audition room, the casting team behind the table wants you to succeed, so go in there with all your unique tools in your craft toolbox and give it all you’ve got. Organically and honestly. If it’s for you, you’ll get the job. TRUST ME.”
And why would you say that people should go see On Your Feet?
“This show is about DREAMS and HOPE. Every single person has a dream. If you’re looking for motivation, inspiration, all while re-connecting with your personal family relationships, this show is for you.”
What did you think of this interview with Christie Prades?
Are any of you working as or aspiring to be an actor or actress? We’d love to hear all about what you’re up to in the comments below! In the meantime, you can check out even more of our exciting interviews with other inspiring people in the theatre industry!
*The featured photo of Christie is by Kenneth Lam.
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