Since he was a preteen, Ricky Martin has been in the spotlight — first with the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist who broke through in both the English- and Spanish-language pop worlds. He’s also been an actor on both sides of that divide, appearing on the telenovela Alcanzar una estrella and the American soap opera General Hospital.
This year, Martin has combined those two passions, playing the role of Ché in the Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Evita. Before his final performances this coming January, he spoke with NPR’s Guy Raz about his long career and why he still gets nervous on stage.
On getting involved with Evita
“My agent came to me and asked me, ‘What do you think about going back to Broadway?’ I said, you know what, this is exactly what I need at this point in my life. I need the audience, I need to be on stage, I need to allow myself to feel emotions like the ones I go through every day on stage as I’m portraying Ché. It’s amazing. This character is really intense: He goes from love to hate to anger to joy in the same scene.”
On dealing with nerves
“I’m nervous every night. Getting ready, going over the lines, the melodies, the harmonies, the dialogue… Before I walk on stage for every scene, I feel this shot of adrenaline, and it’s really intense. I cannot say that I am completely comfortable yet. People don’t notice, but I’m going through a lot every time I walk on stage, which is part of doing theater. That’s why it’s so addictive.”
On the differences between acting and music
“When I’m onstage during my tours, I don’t have choreography and I don’t follow a schedule. [In the theater], if you do something wrong, the domino effect is chaotic, and you must not allow yourself to make [any] mistakes whatsoever. In that case, theater is fascinating because of the discipline that you need.”
On publicly coming out of the closet
“I wish I’d had the courage to do it way [sooner], to be honest. I feel so much better with myself. I look at myself in the mirror and I say, ‘Hey buddy, good job, congratulations!’ Apparently it’s been not only good for me, but great for many people around the world. I’ve received letters, emails and tweets from parents, brothers, sisters and members of the LGBT community, thanking me for sharing my story. It’s been a very, very beautiful journey, not only for me but for my entire family.”