— By Jen Cunningham
The vibrant colors of Miami and Havana illuminate The Fabulous Fox, as “On Your Feet!” takes the stage. As lights go up on young Gloria Estephan (played by Amaris Sanchez and Carmen Sanchez) strumming a guitar in Miami. Quickly joined by the rest of her large Cuban family, the opening scenes walk you through Gloria’s childhood in Miami, after her family moved to the United States during the Cuban revolution.
We quickly move ahead to the now grown(ish) Gloria (played by Christie Prades) being sought after by Emilio Estefan (played by Mauricio Martinez) the leader of the Miami Sound Machine. The shy and awkward Gloria is joined at Emilio’s by her skeptical mother Gloria (played by Nancy Ticotin) and her encouraging Grandmother, Consuelo (played by Alma Cuervo).
The contention between Gloria and her mother only continued to grow as Emilio offered her the job as the lead singer in the band. During a moment of frustration for Gloria, her grandmother told her about the opportunity that her mother was presented with in her younger years to be the Spanish voice of Shirley Temple, but her father forbid it. So deep down the contention was probably fear mixed with some jealousy.
The heartfelt moment of the show came as Gloria was confessing her love for Emilio to her father who had fallen ill with MS after he returned from the Vietnam War. Gloria’s father (played by Jason Martinez) was Gloria’s biggest fan growing up; you can tell how hard it was for her not to be able to really talk to him about Emilio.
The pace of the show really took off from this point as Gloria and Emilio grew as a couple, Miami Sound Machine gained momentum as a band as well. While the label wasn’t quick to get behind them, they were determined to make it on their own, they literally Conga-d their way to stardom. At the height of their success Gloria was sustained an injury that threatened her life and her career. I’m sure many of her fans remember her accident from 1990.
While this story was a little light, this show is ALIVE with color, dancing, and all the chart topping hits from the Estefans’ including “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “1-2-3,” “Get On Your Feet,” “Mi Tierra,” “Don’t Want To Lose You Now,” “Reach, ” and closing with “Coming Out of the Dark”.
This heartfelt story of triumph will have you dancing in the aisles. PS: Don’t miss the curtain call as this production will run through November 19.
I give this show 3 out of 5 stars.
Tickets for “ON YOUR FEET!” at the Fabulous Fox are on sale now online at MetroTix.com, by calling 314-534-1111 or in person at the Fabulous Fox Box Office. Ticket prices start at $35. Prices are subject to change; please refer to FabulousFox.com for current pricing.