Rob Reviews "On Your Feet: The Emilio And Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical"
Even though I have now lived in Dallas longer that I lived in the Fort Lauderdale area, I will always consider myself to be a South Florida boy. There is something about the entire vibe of the area that stretches from Miami to West Palm Beach that is so unique that it really cannot be duplicated anywhere else. From food to culture to entertainment and even just living life, there is a reason that people flock there from all over the world to experience it. I’m not saying that there isn’t uniqueness to anywhere else in this fine nation of ours, but my “hometown” is something that stays with one’s soul no matter where they go. Where I am going with this is simple: “Get on Your Feet: The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical” is in town, I got the pleasure of checking it out during its run at Music Hall at Fair Park through March 11th.
What I loved about this production is that it is more than just a tribute to the music of twenty-six time Grammy winner Gloria Estefan with (and without) the Miami Sound Machine; it is also a journey through the life and incredible story of the daughter and son of Cuban immigrants that set forth a musical movement that would change the way the world would see Latin music (and more importantly, Latin musicians) forever. Encompassing her catalogue from the beginnings in 1977 all the way through “Unwrapped” in 2003 (the story does stop at her 1991 American Music Awards performance of “Coming Out of the Dark”), “On Your Feet” tells its story well accompanied by her music and not the other way around will brilliant use of technology and a live band on stage that was spot on in every number and everything in between. Christine Prades takes the role of Gloria Estefan and completely owns it with great confidence, while Mauricio Martinez is does a solid job as Emilio, the man who discovers her and gives her to the world while finding a way to give himself to her in every way. There are also great performances by Nancy Ticotin as her mother and Debra Cardona as her grandmother that really shows the bonds of Cuban families in a way that I am not sure I have seen done before by showcasing the pride, pain, and tradition of their culture. Although I would have like to seen more of this, the message comes across loud and clear about the undying love these real-life characters have had for each other. If there is one criticism I have it is that some of the songs are rearranged a bit as to where they actually lie in the timeline of her life and career, but to those that may not know her catalog as well, this does get to the point of splitting hairs on that front.
Complimented by solid choreography from a very talented cast of performers, this musical is so well written and executed that what I have dubbed “the soundtrack of my formative years” does not disappoint. Whether you see it here in Dallas at Music Hall at Fair Park or wherever it plays around the world, you would be truly treating yourself to a night at the theater by attending “On Your Feet”.