On Your Feet at WBT

Published: Monday, June 17, 2019 10:00 am By: MIchelle Jacoby Source: Home Town Media

We live in a celebrity-obsessed society. In the 70’s we would wait for “Teen Beat” to hit the newsstands to hang up a poster of our monthly teenage crush. Today we can watch our favorite actors on TV in their living rooms! We can now follow them on social media with Twitter or Instagram. These are usually the celebrities that love being obsessed over and probably famous due to reality TV. It is very rare that we hear about the true, passionate and talented people who made it with pure determination, pride and a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears!
Westchester Broadway Theatre proudly presents one of those stories with, “On Your Feet, The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan” now through most of the summer.

You meet young Gloria played by both Isabella Preston and Camila Sander strumming her guitar and singing to her proud Papa. Gloria comes from a hard-working Cuban family. She lives with her mother, Gloria Fajardo played passionately by Karmine Alers. More mature Gloria is played by Maria Bilbao. Her job is to take care of her ill father and younger sister, Rebecca played by Lauren Cosio. Her mother isn’t overly impressed with Gloria’s singing as she wants her to stay and help with the family. Thank goodness for Consuelo played effortlessly by Sandy Rosenberg. These three strong female characters have great stage presence. The proud Cuban family loves hard so there is a lot of emotion and passion on stage between the woman. Each woman shares their voices on stage, Alers with “Mi Tierra” and a beautiful duet “If I Never Get To Tell You” with Emilio Estefan played by Jose Luaces. Bilbao IS Gloria on stage with her energy and voice. Her song list is long but some of the favorites; “Anything for You”, “1-2-3”,  “Conga”, “Get On Your Feet”, “Live for Loving You”, and “You’ll Be Mine”.

It is fun to watch the romance unfold between Luaces and Bilbao. Gloria was quite shy as a young girl and at the time Estefan seemed too old for her. Romance had to come in between working hard and getting their music out to the public. It wasn’t an easy road for them as producers wanted them to change their name as they feared people wouldn’t respond to the Latin style music. They proved them wrong winning 26 Grammy awards between them.

The music business wasn’t the only hardship for the Estefan’s. In 1990, their tour bus had a terrible crash which was also carrying their son, Emilio played by the adorable Andrew Alcruz.

Gloria nearly died, the collision shattered her spine. The lighting and sound crew created a show stopper with the tour bus accident scene. A true fighter in heart and spirit, Gloria sings at the American Music Awards one year after the accident. Bilbao proudly comes out on stage in a beautiful blue gown and sings, “Coming Out of the Dark” to capture the comeback moment in Estefan’s life.

The show is so inspirational we can’t forget about the amazing choreography and ensemble: Sydney Alise, Allyson Carr, Edgar Cavazos, Arthur Cuadros, Logan Epstein, Michael Gorman, Liesl Jaye, Edgar Lopez, Joey Lucherini, Felix Marchany, Sherena Medford, Tristan Miller, Natalia Nieves, Nico Seidita, Alexis Semevolos and Byron St. Cyr as Jose’.

Directed by Donna Drake; Musical Direction by Bob Bray; Choreographed by Rhonda Miller; Set Design by Steve Loftus; Costume Design by Keith Nielsen; Lighting Design by Andrew Gmoser and Sound Design by Mark Zuckerman.