On Stage: On Your Feet!

It’s always nice when a new show comes to town and it’s even nicer when the show is as fun and lively as “On Your Feet!”

The show is another musical biography, this time centered on Gloria and Emilio Estefan and their work with the Miami Sound Machine. It features all their big hits, including “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Conga” and “Turn The Beat Around” — as well as a song written especially for the show by Gloria and her daughter Emily.

“On Your Feet!” was written by Alexander Dinelaris with music by Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. It opened in Chicago in the summer of 2015 and moved to Broadway later that year.

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Mauricio Martinez as Emilio Estefan and Christie Prades as Gloria Estefan and Company, in a scene from “On Your Feet!” The musical is now playing at the Fox Theatre. 
Photo © Matthew Murphy

As is the way of these shows, it opens with Gloria Estefan (Christie Prades) at the height of her popularity before going into flashback mode to her childhood. Young Gloria is a gifted singer with a great deal of family responsibilities.

With encouragement from her grandmother Consuelo (Alma Cuervo), Gloria performs an original song for local musician Emilio Estefan (Mauricio Martinez) and his band. He brings her into the band and they begin the long climb to stardom.

Like any “Behind The Music” story, there is plenty of drama and sadness to sprinkle among the exuberant song-and-dance numbers. There are fights with record executives, a rift between Gloria and her mother (Nancy Ticotin), and other incidents that I won’t mention in case you’re unfamiliar with the story. Thankfully, the tale avoids the drug addiction element that’s so common in musician biographies.

“On Your Feet!” is a high-energy crowd pleaser with dazzling costumes and lighting effects, impressive and infectious dance numbers, and powerful vocal performances by Prades, Martinez and the rest of the cast.

The show ends with a mega-mix of Estefan’s hits that is sure to get audience members on their feet — and maybe dancing in the aisles.

“On Your Feet!” runs through Nov. 19 at the Fox Theatre. https://www.fabulousfox.com

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