As a feminist I was a little annoyed to see this billed as "the Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway musical," rather than "Gloria and Emilio," because isn't she the star? But it's clear from this show that they were equal partners in what they created - Gloria was the public face of it, but Emilio worked just as hard behind the scenes. A married couple that works together in the music industry and is still married after 40 years? A rare tale indeed.
|Christie Prades as Gloria Estefan (photo by Matthew Murphy)|
The musical includes 26 songs, all credited to the Estefans and the Sound Machine. Even though I wasn't a follower of the band, almost half of these songs are familiar to me, so prevalent are they in the pop culture of the '80s and '90s. Some songs are sung in context (concerts, studios), and some in character, making it a somewhat confusing mish-mash of play with music (a la Jersey Boys) and full-blown musical. The book is a little weak, but it's difficult to fit 20 years of two people's lives, plus flashbacks into their and their parents' past, into two hours. The musical covers a lot, so nothing really hits that deeply. But that didn't stop me from tearing up when Gloria sang "Coming Out of the Dark," returning to the spotlight after her accident, or jumping to my feet for the awesome "greatest hits" curtain call.
|the cast of On Your Feet! flies high (photo by Matthew Murphy)|
Set (designed by David Rockwell), projections (designed by Darrel Maloney), and costumes (designed by Emilio Sosa of Project Runway fame) transport us from snowless cold Minnesota January to the colorful Miami heat. I love Gloria's bright and sparkly pants outfits, and the flowy floral dresses. The beautiful bold colors combined with the projections create a warm Miami feel.
I've saved the best for last: the awesome onstage ten-piece band, over half of whom are members of the Miami Sound Machine, including Music Director Clay Ostwald. Any musical that opens with the band at center stage makes this band geek happy. Even when they disappear behind a screen, their presence is felt, and the most thrilling moments feature the band front and center. Get on your feet, indeed!
On Your Feet! The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical continues through January 7 at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.