While many Las Vegas girls might dream of performing in a Broadway production one day, 10-year-old Carmen Sanchez can already check that off her bucket list.
The bubbly Las Vegas girl was specially chosen as one of the child actors to play young Gloria Estefan in the national tour of Broadway musical, “On Your Feet,” coming to The Smith Center September 4 through 9.
Totally comfortable in her multi-faceted role that spans singing, dancing and acting, Carmen is thrilled to take part in this high-energy show celebrating the life and music of Gloria Estefan – especially since her own family is Cuban.
“I was so excited (to get the part), because I’ve always listened to Gloria Estefan, and she’s Cuban, just like me,” Carmen says.
A Natural Performer
It’s no surprise Carmen has an affinity for the stage.
Before her family moved to the United States when Carmen was 6 years old, her parents ran a theater in Mexico, with her mother as choreographer and her father as music director.
“I would just stand there and watch the people sing, and I’d just start singing,” Carmen says.
Her parents have only encouraged her interest. In Las Vegas — when she’s not on tour — she trains in classical ballet and jazz at the Nevada School of Dance, and also takes private singing lessons.
“It can get exhausting, but it’s worth it, because it prepares you for your career and your future,” she says.
This has already proven true. Carmen’s first professional performance experience was competing on “The Voice Kids,” where she made it to the finals.
Impressed by her performances on the show, the “On Your Feet” tour reached out to Carmen and offered her the role of young Gloria, with no audition necessary.
Carmen was eager to accept, once her contract with “The Voice Kids” completed.
“I felt so happy,” she says. “I even sang ‘Conga’ on ‘The Voice,’ so it was really exciting.”
A Rigorous Routine on the Road
Carmen admits she was initially a little intimidated by her role in “On Your Feet.”
“It was kind of difficult, because you have to learn four songs and the script,” she says. “I kept studying day and night, and it got easier for me.”
Her routine on the road is rigorous, starting each day with tutoring, followed by a ballet lesson or gym session with her mother Ivy, and then preparing for the show.
She doesn’t mind the schedule, especially with the opportunity to perform for friends and family in Las Vegas.
“I get paid to do what I love, and that’s performing,” says Carmen, whose long-term goals include becoming both a pop star and a scientist.
With “On Your Feet” featuring large-scale dance numbers and Gloria Estefan’s greatest hits, including “1,2,3” “Get On Your Feet,” “Conga” and more, Carmen says audience reactions have been enthusiastic in every city.
“It’s amazing. People scream for every character,” she says. “I love the feeling when the audiences shout and they’re happy.”
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