“Come on everybody, do the conga!” The love story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan became Tony nominated hit Broadway musical in the fall of 2015. The Cuban flavored production includes 26 of Gloria Estefan’s biggest hits in a two act play that just wrapped up a U.S. tour. Kicked off in her American hometown of Miami, Florida, “On Your Feet!” reached a wide audience and I was fortunate to see the stop in Tampa, Florida at the famed Straz Center Of The Performing Arts. The vibrant colors, the passionate conga percussion beats, the unbelievable choreography, and the timeless music of Ms. Estefan create a unforgettable and exhilarating experience.
“On Your Feet!” has an appropriate tagline of Her Voice, His Vision, Their Story. Starting in Little Havana, Miami, we witness a pre-teen Gloria singing for her father stationed overseas in Vietnam. After catching the attention of the much older and successful Emilio Estefan who’s a member of the Miami Latin Boys and despite her mother’s apprehension, Gloria auditioned for Emilio’s band with a beautifully sensitive version of “Anything For You”. Before you know it, she’s on tour with Emilio and the story kicks into high gear. Songs like “1-2-3”, “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”, and “Don’t Want To Lose You Now” keep the audience singing along as we watch one of the biggest music superstars of the 80s begin her storied career.
“On Your Feet!” is a vibrant rags-to-riches story that mirrors Estefan’s rising success as the couple’s bond and chemistry grows deeper in equal time. We are drawn into the storylines including Emilio’s battle to get Latin music played on American radio, parental apprehension with Gloria leaving the family for international tours, and her physical breakdown after an endless tour schedule culminate with her bus accident that left Gloria unable to walk for months. The title “On Your Feet” is not a call for the audience to get up and dance and party but taken literally as we witness Gloria’s fight to regain her strength and go back on tour. The final song before the encores is her hair-rising inspirational performance at the American Music Awards of “Coming Out Of The Dark”.
The cast of “On Your Feet!” include Christie Parades (Gloria), Mauricio Martinez (Emilio), and Nancy Ticotin (Gloria’s mom) in the lead roles. Earlier this year, Gloria’s mom passed away at the age of 88, but the play reminded us how they were able to rekindle their strained relationship. Two of the breakout stars of the plays which added some comic relief and outrageous breakdance moves were brought by Alma Cuervo (Gloria’s grandmother Consuelo) and Kevin Tellez (who played 3 characters! – young Emilio, Gloria’s son Nayib, and Jeremy). Don’t leave early the “On Your Feet Megamix” ends the production with pieces of “Turn The Beat Around”, “Oye”, “Conga”, and of course, “Get On Your Feet!” that left the audience dancing the aisles!
“ON YOUR FEET MEGAMIX”