If you watched last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, you probably remember it kicking off with a dance-party-esque performance from the cast of Broadway's On Your Feet. Which means you also probably remember two little gentlemen, donning red sequin suspenders and bow ties, busting out the best moves ever and essentially stealing the show (er, parade).
It wasn't just the parade, though: 10-year-old Kevin Tellez and 9-year-old Eduardo Hernandez steal the show nightly as the youngest members of the cast of On Your Feet, a musical about Gloria Estefan, set to some of her best songs. Both young men are making their Broadway debuts in the show, alternating playing the roles of Young Emilio and Nayib in six shows per week. Get to know them better here, then go see the show! (You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll definitely get on your feet at the end, when the theater transforms into a giant Gloria Estefan-soundtracked dance party.)
What made you want to be a Broadway performer?
Kevin Tellez: I'd been dancing for almost six years, so this show gave me the opportunity to do something a little different with my dancing.
Eduardo Hernandez: I never thought I'd be on Broadway—I just love to perform!
Eduardo (left) and Kevin at On Your Feet's opening night. (Photo via Playbill)
Do you get nervous before you go on each night? How do you calm your nerves?
KT: When I did my first few shows, I was really nervous, but then I got used to it. Before I get onstage, I tell myself to just have fun and enjoy it. Also all the cast members are always there to help me and that makes me feel confident.
EH: I never get nervous—I just get excited because I love what I do.
What's something most people don't know about being on Broadway?
KT: It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and it also keeps you from having a normal life, like hanging out with your friends or spending time with your family. Also, you have less time to do you school work and it's hard to make enough time every day to study.
EH: Being a child actor on Broadway means you have to wake up early for school and finish your homework and go do the show. We go to the show almost every day, so we don’t have a lot of time off.
Eduardo Hernandez in On Your Feet. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)
What's a typical day in the life like for you?
KT: It's very busy! I don't have a tutor, and my mom and my dad work, so I go to school like everyone else. During school days I wake up at 6 am, and I need to be in school by 7:35. My mom is a teacher at my school in New Jersey, so when school is over, I go to her classroom to do my homework and study for any tests I might have. Around 5:00, I stop if I'm not done with my schoolwork and have dinner. Then, my mom and I take the bus to the city. If we get there early, we'll go to the Marriott Hotel so I can finish my schoolwork before the show. I get home around 11 pm, say hello to my dad, brush my teeth and go to sleep.
Some days are a little different: On Mondays I get to go home with my mom after school because we don't have a show that day. On Tuesdays, we get to the city early for my dance lesson, so I do some schoolwork on the bus and at the theater. On two-show Wednesdays, my grandmother picks me up early from school and takes me to the theater—my teachers give me the classwork and homework that I'll miss for the rest of the day.
What's the best part of being on Broadway?
KT: Getting to meet so many talented people that I get to learn from and being able to see the happy faces of people after the show telling you how much they enjoyed your performance.
EH: I love getting to see the audience very happy after every show, and I love being on stage.
Opening night smiles! (Photo via Broadway.com)
What's the hardest part of being on Broadway?
KT: I don't really get to see my dad, brother or sister during the week.
EH: Balancing school with the show.
What's the coolest perk you've gotten from being in the show?
KT: It was very cool to meet and spend time with the Estefans—they are very nice people. And it was amazing being part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, being on the Tonys and on PBS’s Capitol Fourth in Washington, DC.
EH: Performing at the White House and meeting the First Lady!