Hand-picked by Gloria Estefan to play her younger self in On Your Feet, it’s clear that Madison Elizabeth Lagares has a bright future ahead. After making her Broadway debut as Young Gloria, she now joins the newest class in School of Rock the Musical. Her vivacious energy is contagious and we had a great time talking about her career and what it’s like to be a kid on Broadway.
What was the first moment you fell in love with performing and knew you wanted to do it professionally?
I loved performing since I was 3. My parents got me this CD to Phantom of the Opera and I would always be listening to it and I wanted to do that one day.
Can you tell us about your journey to Broadway – what was the audition process like for On Your Feet and School of Rock?
I wanted to be on Broadway since forever. When I auditioned for On Your Feet, I was supposed to be older, 11 or 12, but my agent called and said, “there is an audition for this wonderful Broadway show called On Your Feet and I just want Madison to try out for it.” I went that day, I wasn’t prepared. They gave me the tape recordings for the song and I practiced them while I was waiting to get called in. I was so nervous. It wasn’t my first Broadway audition– I had gotten callbacks before, but this was the real deal. I went inside, sang my songs and one the music directors told me, “you kind of look like Gloria Estefan.” “Do you say that to all the people you see?” I asked. He replied “no, I have a feeling about this one.” So when I had a callback, he said, “I told you so.”
That was my audition process for On Your Feet. We didn’t have to do that much choreography and at the time I did not know how to dance. Natalie Caroncho and Hector Masonet both taught me how to do my shoulders and waist and how to not fling my arms around every time, and then I kept on auditioning for more. When On Your Feet ended I realized that there were more auditions for School of Rock, so I went in for Tomika. You have to audition for Shonelle and they kind of fit them in to be either Mason, Shonelle, or all the other people and I realized that. When I went into the audition room, I sang my song and I did the lines and I was really nervous and I got a callback the next few days and I was like, “oh, my gosh,” but then I realized it was for dancing and I knew that dancing is not my strong suit – especially jumping and hip‑hop and lots of weird choreography. I mostly did Latin in On Your Feet. I thought I flunked it. I mean, I honestly thought, “oh, no, this is the end for me,” and then I got a callback, which was really exciting. Now we are working on the choreography. My choreography is much better. I got a callback for Shonelle the backup singer and Tomika understudy.
Do you have a favorite memory from behind the scenes of On Your Feet?
Yes, I do. Junior [Jose Rosario] is a really good friend of mine. He is really funny and very kid‑friendly and one day when we were backstage we saw this video of fake slapping. Junior is like, “hey, you want to do that video?” So he taught me how to do it. They recorded it from an angle on the camera. It looked like I was actually smacking him, so it was like we were fighting backstage. You could watch it on my Instagram.
Had you seen the School of Rock movie or Bro