Audience Review of ON YOUR FEET!Published: Monday, June 3, 2019 By: Carol Gladstone Source: Audience Member
Westchester Broadway Theatre's 211th production reprised the Broadway version of On Your Feet! the rousing jukebox musical detailing the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. The Cuban-fusion pop music they created starts with Emilio (Jose Luaces) seeking a female vocalist (Maria Bilbao) for his band, the Miami Latin Boys. From the first, Gloria battles her mother, Gloria Fajardo (Karmine Alers), and is supported by her grandmother Consuelo (Sandy Rosenberg), who tells Gloria to follow her heart and her musical gift. The principals in the show are outstandingly talented and light up the stage with each number and their distinct personalities. The plot unfolds from Gloria's debut with Emilio's band to her lighting up the stage worldwide reaching the ultimate goal of a cross-over from appeal to a white, English-speaking audience from their original Latin supporters. So convinced are they of their worth, that they take the very difficult entrepreneurial route of producing their own music as Cuban emigres who work to achieve the American dream as outstanding musical artists.
President Barack Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on the couple in November 2015 recognizing their contribution to the music of the United States. The dogged hard work and incessant touring depicted in the play took their toll when Gloria suffered a broken vertebra after a truck ran into the band's bus on a snow-covered highway in the Pocono Mountains. The production takes the audience through her hospitalization, surgery, and physical therapy all the while sustained by Emilio's unwavering love and support in the touching "Don't Wanna Lose You." The story culminates with her appearance in Dick Clark's American Music Awards in January 1991, thirteen months after the accident where she performed "Coming Out of the Dark."
The ensemble's dances under choreographer Rhonda Miller's and director Donna Drake's guidance to well-known Estefan numbers are wonderful. The Broadway production garnered a Tony Award nomination. Costumes by Keith Nielsen are true to the eras enhancing a very entertaining show. Bob Bray's musical direction reflects his long experience both nationally and in New York theatre with the band's and company's finale that brought the audience to its feet.
The only downside to the production is the dead spots upstage right and left where microphones do not pick up the dialogue.