Playhouse Square’s ‘On Your Feet’ brings its Latin infused spicy flavor to Cleveland
The Playhouse Square KeyBank Broadway Series production of On Your Feet – The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical is far more than your standard “jukebox” show. It is a sophisticated drama with an infectious Latin infused concert thrown in. The ba-ba—ba-ba-ba Latin rhythm very quickly takes over the crowd to the point that when cast members come off stage and into the seating area audience members immediately get up to dance with them.
After a two year run on Broadway the show (with book by Alexander Dinelaris) the show has began touring around the world with several companies performing in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Japan, France and America.
The musical (directed by Jerry Michell) is the story of Emilio Estefan (Mauricio Martinez) and Gloria Fajardo, later Estefan (Christie Prades) who as very young children fled their homeland of Cuba as revolution swept the island. Later in life Gloria earns her BA degree in Psychology with a minor in French when she meets handsome Emilio who is the keyboardist for the group “The Miami Latin Boys.” Against her mother’s, Gloria (Nancy Ticotin) wishes but with the support of her grandmother, Consuelo (Alma Cuervo) she joins Emilio’s group that goes on to become “The Miami Sound Machine” with her as their solo vocalist.
Although very popular with the Latin audiences in North and South America the group had difficulty breaking into (crossing over) into the American pop music scene. After recording the song “Dr. Beat” in English (that was rejected by all of the music producers) they took the song to any place that would let them perform it having friends and relatives call local radio stations demanding they play the song. Word of mouth quickly spread as did their fame.
This is an extremely clean show that is suitable for the entire family and has a good moral message of how hard work and perseverance can pay off.
This is a wonderfully tight cast who really know how to entertain. Christie Prades as Gloria has the looks and sounds of the original. Mauricio Martinez is a triple threat of great looks, acting and voice that had women swooning in the aisles. Nancy Ticotin as Gloria Fajardo (Gloria’s mother) plays the part straight and does a wonderful nightclub number to boot. Jason Martinez as Jose Fajardo (Gloria’s father) is superb as well. Stealing the show with each appearance on stage is Alma Cuervo as Consuelo (Gloria’s Grandmother) whose small physical actions are an absolute hoot. Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for Kevin Tellez as “Bar Mitzvah Jeremy” who does an amazing dance sequence.
Even if you are not familiar with Latin music you will find yourself falling in love with this show. The simple yet functional sets, wonderful costumes, upbeat music interspaced with heartfelt ballads, dazzling lighting and sound makes this a must see show. You will find yourself dancing out of the theater after the amazing mini-concert after the curtain calls.
The Playhouse Square KeyBank Broadway Series production of On Your Feet will be at the Connor Palace through December 23, 2017. Tickets may be purchased online at www.playhousesquare.org, by phone at(216) 241-6000 or by stopping by the Playhouse Square ticket office located in the outer lobby of the State Theatre.