Leave it to music trailblazers Gloria and Emilio Estefan to make even folding laundry an exhilarating event. A glimmering purple curtain provided just a hint of the radiance behind it as Lexus Broadway in Boston presented On Your Feet through Sunday, April 29 at the Boston Opera House at 529 Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Direct from Broadway and featuring five of the original members of Gloria Estefan’s band, Miami Sound Machine, On Your Feet is currently on a national tour. Click here to find out where they will take the stage next.
From its first few powerful notes and flowing, multicolored club lights, On Your Feet is a party from the start. After real life superstar couple, Gloria and Emilio Estefan playfully introduce the show, Cuban dancers emerge pounding drums as a full, onstage band, Miami Sound Machine, flood the stage and greet the audience. Award-winning Sergio Trujillo’s thrilling choreography frames every aspect of this international, true story with flair and gusto. It has an equal share of wild, quick, and intense music with complex, fancy foot work as well as poignant, inspiring moments within a few of Gloria Estefan’s famous ballads. Gloria and Emilio Estefan are behind the Latin rhythms, touching original compositions, and the orchestrations of some of Gloria Estefan’s biggest hits. This captivating production not only showcases Latin culture and a peek into its history, but Gloria and Emilio’s tenacious struggle to fit it into American music scene.
Costume designer Emilio Sosa skillfully replicated Gloria’s sparkling, iconic outfits featured in her memorable concert appearances, the Estefan’s worldwide travel, brought together the colorful styles of the 60s, 80s, and 90s from casual, colorful floral summer wear of Cuba and Miami to elegant, nightclub attire. David Rockwell’s often romantic scenic design and dim lighting depict Miami’s palm tree silhouettes as well as the particular vibe in their worldwide travels.
On Your Feet not only explores Gloria and Emilio’s budding romance and their mutual dreams, but their aspirations to pursue music as Latin performers. What is most fascinating about the show is Mauricio Martinez as Emilio and Christine Prades as Gloria’s sheer dogged determination to thrive. Martinez offers a charming, yet serious performance as Emilio, business minded and determined with smooth and angelic vocals. He delivers a touching rendition of Gloria Estefan’s hit, Don’t Want to Lose You Now and original song written by Gloria Estefan’s daughter, If I Never Got To Tell You, a duet with Nancy Ticotin as Gloria Estefan’s mother, Gloria Fajardo. Martinez is intense, charismatic, and always planning one step ahead.
It is easy to see why Christine Prades as Gloria has such natural, crackling chemistry with Martinez. Prades as Gloria complements Emilio’s drive through her vibrant, shy, and creative personality. Curly haired and slim with inflections of Gloria Estefan’s distinctive voice, it is hard to imagine another person portraying the award-winning singer-songwriter. She engages the audience with her glowing, infectious smile while skillfully handling the quick pacing and complex choreography of this production, often breaking out into song and dance on a dime. From a ‘can’t-help-but-sing’ child doing chores in Cuba, portrayed sweetly by Ana-Sofia Rodriguez, to a timid woman taking the stage, Gloria’s charismatic stage presence in undeniable. Together, Gloria and Emilio are a force to be reckoned with in their uphill battle to become a music sensation. The tender song, Here We Are is a particular highlight, showing off their sweet chemistry.
Nancy Ticotin delivers a powerful performance as Gloria Fajardo, Gloria’s mother. Ticotin portrayed strong willed Fajardo with a passion and a powerful voice, especially portrayed with the flirtatious number Mi Tierra, sung in a Havana nightclub. Ticotin is stubborn and hard on Gloria, but with a giving spirit toward Jason Martinez as Gloria’s loving war veteran father, Jose.
On Your Feet not only quite literally encourages the audience to dance with some of Gloria’s most riveting songs such as 1-2-3, Rhythm is Gonna Get You, Conga and Dr. Beat, but also depicts the journey and sorrows of following a dream. It has its share of humorous moments in Debra Cardona as Gloria’s charming grandmother, Consuelo, in her unwavering support of her granddaughter and delivering a few sharp one liners. Carlos Carreras as Jeremy wows as an enthusiastic Gloria Estefan fan that can’t help but dance. In such an uplifting, spectacular musical celebration, it is easy to understand why.
On Your Feet is currently on a national tour. Click here to find out where they will take the stage next. Click here for more of Lexus Broadway in Boston’s upcoming performances and follow them on Facebook.