Review: ON YOUR FEET! on Broadway


Credit: Matthew Murphy

When I was invited to see ON YOUR FEET!, a a new Broadway musical based on the life of  Gloria Estefan and her husband, Emilio, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. While I respect the artist and have known her music most of my life, I wasn’t sure how her tale would translate to the Broadway stage. So, intrigued but apathetic, I took my seats one evening, alongside my mother, at the Marquis Theatre, to see what the show was about. What interested me most was the fact that the musical features a Latin cast, furthering this season’s increased diversity in casting choices on Broadway (a la “Hamilton,” “Eclipsed,” and “Shuffle Along”).

Review: ON YOUR FEET! on Broadway

The story takes place on the streets of Havana and ends up in Miami, where we learn about the singer’s path to fame. I didn’t know about Gloria’s path. Her mother tried her hand at singing but gave it to take care of her family. She was intensely shy as a young girl and had to overcome that to become a singer. She took care of her father, who was inflicted with MS, and had to make a choice between caring for him and fame.

She was also nearly killed in a bus accident in 1990. She was stretched out on a bunk, asleep, while the bus was stopped in traffic backed up behind a jackknifed truck, when a truck plowed into the back of the bus. She was thrown from her bunk and slammed into the middle of the bus, breaking her vertebrae and flown via helicopter to the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopaedic Institute in New York City, where surgeons used titanium rods to align her vertebra and fuse them. Months of difficult recovery followed, and Estefan underwent endless hours of physical therapy for over a year. She made her first public appearance only six months after the accident, on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, to a standing ovation. In 1992 she released a Greatest Hits album, which went platinum.

The story being told in this show is one of resilience, determination and proof that if you work hard you can achieve greatness in the world, no matter what the obstacles are. While Estefan is completely talented, she has worked really, really hard to get where she is today.

It was easy for me to get excited about the music throughout the show, much of which I knew beforehand and grew up with,  like“Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” and “Get On Your Feet,” in addition to an original song written by Gloria and her daughter Emily. Estefan has sold over 100 million records and sold out stadiums around the world so it’s not hard to recognize nearly every song.

So I went into the show with low expectations and came out somewhat fulfilled. I’m a sucker for stories about women who rise above all expectation and defy odds – and Estefan certainly has done just that. The cast is very good, too, as one would expect from a Broadway show about a legend and it includes Cuban-American actress Ana Villafañe, Josh Segarra, Andréa Burns and Alma Cuervo. It was directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots,” “Hairspray”) and choreographed by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (“Jersey Boys,” “Memphis”) with an original book by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (“Birdman”, “The Bodyguard Musical”).

Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.com/ 877-250-2929 and more info can be found at www.OnYourFeetMusical.com.

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets but all opinions are my own.


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