James L. Nederlander, Estefan Enterprises, Inc., Bernie Yuman
On Your Feet!
(On Your Feet! Website)
The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan
Book by Alexander Dinelans
Featuring Music Produced and Recorded by:
Emilio & Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Ana Villafañe, Josh Segarra
Alma Cuervo, Alexandria Suarez, Eduardo Hernandez
And an ensemble of actors/singers/dancers
Director: Jerry Mitchell
Choreographer: Sergio Trujillo
Scenic Design: David Rockwell
Costume Design: ESosa
Lighting Design: Kenneth Posner
Sound Design: SCK Sound Design
Projection Design: Darrel Maloney
Hair & Wig Design: Charles G. LaPointe
Casting: Telsey + Company
Justin Huff, CSA
Music Coordinator: Patrick Vaccariello
Music Direction and Arrangements: Lon Hoyt
Orchestrations: Gloria Estefan/Emilio Estefan
Additional orchestrations: Jorge Casas/Clay Ostwald
Dance Music Arrangements and Dance Orchestrations:
Press Agent: Vivacity Media Group
Production Supervisor: Theatersmith Associates, LLC
Production Stage Manager: Thomas Recktenwald
Company Manager: Bobby Driggers
General Manager: The Charlotte Wilcox Company
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 4, 2015 Matinee
If you like the conga and hot salsa, rush to Alexander Dinelans’ new show about Gloria and Emilio Estefan, called On Your Feet!. I must admit, I and my guest, along with hundreds of audience members in nearby rows, were rhythmically bouncing to “Get On Your Feet”, “Oye”, “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”, and that ever-magnetic “Conga”. The music of Gloria and Emilio Estefan (among Co-Producers of this show) and Miami Sound Machine pulsates throughout this biographical musical, that opens in Miami, then flashes back to Vietnam and Havana, as well as one of the couple’s tour busses. The story winds in circular motion around record business hardships, a blossoming romance between Gloria and Emilio, decades of family friction between Gloria and her mother, also named Gloria, bonds of loyalty between Gloria and her grandmother, Consuelo, a bus accident on a snowbound highway, Gloria’s rehabilitation, and the everlasting love of the Estefans, who withstood it all, in an industry not known for unshakeable stability.
Little Gloria is performed by Alexandria Suarez, with spunk and poise. The child is a natural, singing along with her tiny guitar. Gloria’s father, José Fajardo (Eliseo Roman), sends personalized message tapes from Vietnam to soothe his spirited daughter. José’s wife, Gloria Fajardo (Andréa Burns) has studious aspirations for her daughter, as she harbors jealousy and resentment, having lost her own youthful opportunity on Cuban performance stages. Gloria’s maternal grandmother, Consuelo (Alma Cuervo), plays a muscular role as the aggressive, stalwart supporter of her granddaughter’s career. The teen, then adult Gloria is masterfully performed by Ana Villafañe, with a remarkable resemblance to the actual Ms. Estefan. As Emilio, who meets Gloria in Miami, on hearing rumors of a new, hot singer, Josh Segarra sings and swivels with the best of them. His vocals are husky, masculine, and magnetic.
But, what’s most palpable is the obvious chemistry between Ms. Villafañe and Mr. Segarra, not only in the rousing, Latin dance numbers, with both leads in superb form in mambo-salsa-rumba choreography, but mainly in the emotional scenes that glue their relationship, in spite of circumstance and fate. This duo should perform together in song and dance long after they leave The Marquis. Ms. Villafañe and Mr. Segarra, along with all the contagious, hot songs, are the reason to see this show. Also a gorgeous singer, Ms. Burns, as Gloria’s mother, is in her breakout role, too. Ms. Cuervo, who has engaging stage presence, drew applause and laughs throughout the two acts. Mr. Roman and Ms. Suarez, as Gloria’s father and Little Gloria, were both endearing and entertaining. Another breakout star is Eduardo Hernandez, as Young Emilio, then as Nayib, Gloria and Emilio’s son. This kid can cut the rug with frenetic mambos with athletic embellishments. In numerous scenes he stole the stage. The ensemble is enormous, too expansive to list, but each dancer-actor-singer, as American DJ, Latin DJ, a record producer, club and party staff, hospital staff, and Latin dancers, singers, musicians, was outstanding in the moment.
Jerry Mitchell has directed with attention to pathos, pizzazz, and pulse. Sergio Trujillo’s choreography brought out authentic, Latin flourishes, not often seen on Broadway, and managing all this on a busy stage was impressive. David Rockwell’s scenic tour de force was the ill-fated tour bus scene, with today’s matinee audience in breathless silence. He also made room for an extra, sliding stage floor, so the orchestra could appear for the pumped-up show scenes. The Havana locales, with ESosa’s cotton, pastel costumes, were followed with Miami and show tour scenes, replete with red-black-gold sequined stunners. Ms. Villafañe’s three-piece, sexy red outfit for the finale was ESosa’s pièce de résistance. Kenneth Posner’s lighting was vibrant, while SCK Sound Design kept the lyrics clear and close. Kudos to all, and kudos to the Estefans for helping to bring this fantastic story and music to Broadway.
Ana Villafañe and the Cast of ON YOUR FEET!
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy
Josh Segarra, Ana Villafañe,
and the cast of ON YOUR FEET!
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy