On Your Feet!

“On Your Feet! The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical” is an extremely feel-good show bringing a refreshing Latino-American culture to the broadway stage. The musical tells the story of the 80s singing sensation, Gloria Estefan, and her rise to fame with the help of her husband, Emilio Estefan. The show encompassed so many different relevant themes that even I, a millennial who had never heard of Gloria Estefan, found a lot to appreciate and be inspired from.

As the show began with Gloria performing in a concert, it was clear to see this was going to be a show full of upbeat energy and fun. The most unique scenes would have to be the concert scenes as no other show has blinded me with flashy colorful lights before like this one, and not to mention, I’ve never watched a musical end with confetti exploding into the audience.  The settings throughout the show were executed nicely with nothing to critique. The transitions were very smooth, sometimes even involving projected captions telling me exactly where and what year the scene was taking place. The musical had a more modern touch to it, leading me to constantly feel like I was watching a movie-based musical.

The plot did not leave me constantly thinking about what was going to happen next, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it the way I enjoy the romantic comedy movies that one watches curled up on the sofa with a bowl of ice-cream in hand.  There were enough conflicts to entertain, and the light-hearted dialogue and humorous characters would lead me to watch it again.

As the cast performed the iconic songs recorded by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, I enjoyed seeing many audience members around me sing along. The cast made me want to get up and start dancing. Some of the dancers were interactive, as they high-fived people in the audience and danced down the aisle in one scene. From Gloria’s grandmother to the bosses of record labels, every character was extremely charismatic. If I must point out someone amongst the entire cast, it would have to be Amaris Sanchez, an elementary school-aged girl who played young Gloria. In the few scenes she had, a big strong  voice came out of a tiny body to sing Gloria Estefan’s “Tradicion” all while performing energy-filled choreography. The music and acting is only half the show.

The actual content of Emilio and Gloria Estefan’s life story was extremely interesting. The show takes you all the way back to Gloria’s childhood.  As you watch her become a college student or meet Emilio for the first time, you realize this story has a lot of themes to take in, relate to and enjoy. One of the aspects that seemed to touch the audience particularly was the protagonists’ struggle in the music industry due to being children of Cuban immigrants. In the middle of the show, the audience began a round of applause as Mauricio Martinez, the actor playing Emilio Estefan, delivered a short monologue about how he doesn’t need to change his identity to be classified as more American.  If this musical were not based on a true story, I may have enjoyed it less. The epic duo’s true story is part of the magic of the show.  

I would not call this show amazing, but I would not call this show below par either. If you’re out looking for a good time, something to make you smile or motivate you, “On Your Feet! The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical” is playing at the Fox Theatre through Nov. 19, 2017. The show will leave you appreciating the melting pot of our country, admiring Emilio and Gloria’s love and attitude of never giving up in the face of adversity, and—at the very least—will get you to, as Gloria Estefan sings, “get on your feet!”