Are You Sitting Down? Good. Read this Review of On Your Feet!
A new jukebox musical has conquered the Great White Way, as the musical score from the most famous Cuban-American couple intertwines with the riveting story of the 26-time Grammy Award-winning husband-and-wife team. The engaging characters of Gloria and Emilio Estefan will make you leave The Marquis Theatre swiveling your hips while humming the catchy music score.
On Your Feet! boasts distinguished talent, as it is written by Academy Award Winner Alexandre Dinelaris, directed by two-time Tony Award Winner Jerry Mitchell and choreographed by Tony Nominee & Oliver Award Winner Sergio Trujillo. The rhythm is enticing, the plot empathetic, and the protagonists adorable. From the heart of Havana to the streets of Miami came a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the music industry had ever seen, and the musical magically portrays it all. Any immigrant can relate to the struggling pursuit of the American Dream, even more when it comes to the world of the arts. Every member of the audience can identify with the lead who finds herself confronting a unfortunate twist of fate and has to start anew to return to her hard-earned glory.
Christie Prades, playing the seven-time Grammy winning international superstar, embodies all the qualities to make spectators fall in love with her. She delicately plays the ingenue who, despite her humbling attitude, has great charisma; and naturally there is a bewitching voice and dancing skill that makes her the ideal actress to play Gloria Estefan. Similarly, Ektor Rivera displays exceptional musical theater talent, with an outstanding dose of humour, wit and vibrancy that almost make him better than the real 19-time Grammy winning producer-musician-entrepreneur Emilio Estefan!
Just as captivating as the lead characters, are the actors playing Gloria’s mother (Andréa Burns) and grandmother (Alma Cuervo) who incarnate the passion and grit of Latino family women. Whilst the performances of the younger members of the cast are tender and engaging, as we see Alexandria Suarez playing Little Gloria and the energetic Kevin Tellez in the role of Nayib, the son of the Estefans’.
The formula of this musical is undoubtedly crowd-pleasing but it does not give into overly sympathetic rhetoric. All the elements of the story － contoured with upbeat jubilant singing-dancing numbers － portray everyday life. Family conflicts, career issues, health challenges, overcoming prejudice and nurturing love. The room pulsates with Latin pop beat, as salsa swirls lead the way, through a magnetic story about pushing yourself beyond your limits to accomplish your goals.
The contagiously joyous mood will sweep you off (or ON) your feet, as the enrapturing choreographies bring to the stage some of Gloria and Emilio’s chart-topping smash hits, including Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, 1-2-3, Get On Your Feet, Mi Tierra, Don’t Want To Lose You Now, Reach…and naturally the Conga!