When you have a musical that is fun, high energy, and filled with a great and familiar score, you have an instant hit. All those elements and so much more are present in Westchester Broadway Theater’s current production of “On Your Feet, The Story of Emilo and Gloria Estefan. As the title states, you will be On Your Feet because this dazzling musical will lift you up from your chair and have you dancing and swaying your hips as you leave the theater.
Those of you who remember the 1980s will remember Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (whose leader Emilio Estefan she married in 1978). Their style of music merged Cuban based sounds with pop to create an infectious blend that thrilled the crowd at the WBT. And if you are not familiar with their music once the band and talented cast start rocking, you will be hooked.
The story uses a series of flashbacks we see Gloria as a girl (Isabella Preston) in Cuba, singing and dancing because that was in her spirit and heart. Her family fled to Miami after the overthrow of the Batista government. Due to their flight from Cuba, Gloria’s mother (Karmine Alers) abandoned her own dream of performing. As Gloria (Maria Bilbao) grows up she wants to follow her dreams of singing, but her mother does not support her dream. We find that Gloria encounters Emilio Estefan (Jose Luaces) who invites her to join his band the “Miami Latin Boys”. As Gloria emerges as the face of the band and its lead singer, the band changes its name to the Miami Sound Machine. This also signals a change in creative direction.
Though the band has a large following on the Spanish speaking music charts, they yearn to cross over and expand their appeal. They break out of their niche in the 1980s with such hits as “Conga” “1-2-3”, “Get on Your Feet” and more. Many of their hits are present in the two hour performance and are woven throughout the story.
The musical also covers the near tragic tour bus accident that almost ended her career. Gloria over comes this obstacle and returns to the stage. The show wraps up with a rousing medley of high energy hits including ” Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” ,“Oye”, “Turn the Beat Around” , “Get On Your Feet!”
The performances of the cast are first rate and what we have come to expect from the WBT. Maria Bilbao really has you convinced during the performance that you are seeing Gloria Estefan live. Brilliant. Dance and choreography is essential to the show and the ensemble cast delivers a lively performance that transports the audience to a Miami club.
So get on your feet and get to the Westchester Broadway Theater. The show runs through August 4th 2019
Westchester Broadway Theater
One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York
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