ON YOUR FEET! WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATRE

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2019 By: GARY CHATTMAN Source: Westchester Arts & Education Review

Ladies and gentlemen of Westchester County, New York:  I’m sure you know that the Westchester Broadway Theatre has been here for many decades, right?  I’m sure you know of the phenomenal quality of musical shows (and cabaret acts) this venue has offered.  But I’m sure you don’t yet know that audiences today, June 2019, are “On Their Feet” in applauding the quality of the newest, most alive show, “On Your Feet” which is the story of Gloria Estefan, her husband Emilio and the trials and tribulations of this cross-over band and sound of the Latin Community to American society.  This show, undoubtedly, is one of the finest ever presented on the WBT stage—of 211 productions!

Gloria was discovered by Emilio in the Little Havana section of Miami.  Her mother once was in the music business but was dissuaded by her own parents to let it go.  So, mother did.  Grandmother encourages Gloria, and the rest, they say, is history.  Unfortunately, this true story has its very sad and upsetting parts—and Act II tells us of them.  This very successful singer and her very successful husband go through trials and tribulations…as do we all.

The music makes one want to get up and dance in the WBT stairwells and aisles!  I even saw a waiter swaying to the conga music! 

As usual, in a superior WBT show, I watched Bob Bray (Musical Director/Keyboard) and his assistant, Jessica Glover, lead an orchestra of ten--jumpin’ and jivin’!   Director Donna Drake (from Broadway, naturally) has credentials a mile wide, and a talent longer than that!  Choreographer Rhonda Miller is a genius.  Steve Loftus (resident designer) has outdone himself here.

The cast—oy!  When you watch these actors on stage, you are so caught up in their personal lives that you want to go up on stage and hug them!  Really!  They are that believable, empathetic and sympathetic. Maria Bilbao (Gloria Estefan) is a born actress.  Her voice made my water glass shake—and that is a good thing!  Playing her husband (Emilio Estefan) is Jose Luaces, a veteran TV and Broadway actor.   What talent!  I empathized with the actress playing Gloria’s grandmother—Gloria Fajardo—Karmine Alers and her mother, Rebecca Fajardo, played by Lauren Cosio—because both are so sincere and believable and talented.

The rest of this company (including Byron St. Cyr, Sandy Rosenberg, Andrew Alcruz, Isabella Preston/Camila Sander) and the ensemble is just wonderful!

This usual (as usual for WBT) is so superior to what I’ve found on Broadway (witness the kudos to “Tootsie” which my wife and I saw a couple of weeks which I hated—and found sadly lacking in plot, direction, book and music and so inferior to the movie.)

The production here in Elmsford is, from 1-10, a “10!”  Tonight is the Tony Awards, and Broadway will be honoring its best.  It will be honoring the $200 a ticket shows; the very expensive actors/actresses, sets, costumes; the parking fees (up to $40 per car) and the food you must eat in a specialized, expensive restaurant nearby.  Why in heaven would I wish to do this?  Why would I wish to drive down to Manhattan (special pricing below 60th Street upcoming!) to spend $350 for a Broadway evening, when the Westchester Broadway Theatre is right in my neighborhood!  Lunch and dinner are included in the price! (Can’t get better roast beef anywhere!)  Parking is free!  Your ticket price is way below!  Come here!  Come here!  Forget Broadway, with its overblown musicals!  This show is SO FAR ABOVE THEM! 

So, people of Yonkers, White Plains, Ardsley, Somers, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, North Salem, Port Chester, Rye, Rye Brook, Tarrytown, Peekskill, Pelham, Bedford, Buchanan, Croton-on-Hudson, Bronxville, Hastings, Hartsdale, Irvington, (and anyone I left out) get those tickets NOW!   Join the audiences here at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, who AT EACH PERFORMANCE, are “ON THEIR FEET” in recognition of the pure genius and talent on stage at the WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATRE!