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Theatre Review: On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan

The cast of  On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy The cast of On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan

It's 1975 and they are the Miami Latin Boys. A modestly successful boy band. Then in 1977, they hear young Gloria Fajardo sing, sign her and become the Miami Sound Machine. After ten years, she marries the band's manager Emilio Estefan, and when her star power can no longer be denied, they change the group's name to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.

Next, the producers want the band to stay within the Latin market. Emilio refuses to be pigeonholed; he realizes that they have something very special to offer the world.

This is just part of the story of On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan now on stage at Broadway's Marquis Theatre. From the opening curtain, this production exudes energy and creates a connection that grabs you until intermission and then grabs you right back again after the break!

Intertwined with captivating dancing and singing is this marvelous story of the exceedingly talented performer, Gloria and her marketing genius, but also her musically talented husband, Emilio. Her talent combines with his vision, forever changing the music world.

But this story is just not one of fame and glory. This group had to fight to have their unique sound given the mainstream exposure it deserved. There are plenty of other hurdles as well.

As a child, Gloria has to care for her chronically ill father, deal with her mother's conflicts over her own unfulfilled entertainment dreams, and Gloria's difficult decision to leave college to pursue her career full-time.

Then there is Gloria's tragic accident at the height of her career.

Even if you have never heard of Gloria Estefan (which is highly unlikely), you will embrace this story and this production.

I am frankly not sure if there has ever been a better cast. This is a strong chain of performers, without a single weak link. It all starts with Ana Villafane in the lead role of Gloria. She rocks it! Her voice ranges from soothingly angelic to absolutely earth shaking. Josh Segarra is Emilio and has the authentic onstage persona of a man who would create a recording empire. (He and Gloria are worth a half billion dollars and are part owners of the Miami Dolphins.)

The dancers seem to have so much fun; it's as if they would gladly perform these steps even if there were no audience.

On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan is an engaging story, with phenomenal dancing, and sinfully provocative singing, all woven together in this onstage masterpiece.

I'll put it very simply - GO SEE: On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan. It's playing at the Marquis Theatre 46th St. between Broadway and 8th Ave.