The Rhythm is Going to Get You! Review of  "On Your Feet"

Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 By: Frank and Irene Wallace Source: I On The Valley  

When you have a musical that is fun, high energy, and filled with a great and familiar score, you have an instant hit.   All those elements and so much more are present in Westchester Broadway Theater's current production of "On Your Feet, The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan.    As the title states, you will be  On Your Feet because this dazzling musical will lift you up from your chair and have you dancing and swaying your hips as you leave the theater

Those of you who remember the 1980s  will remember Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (whose leader Emilio Estefan she married in 1978).  Their style of music merged Cuban based music with pop to create an infectious sound that thrilled the crowd at the WBT.   And if you are not familiar with their music once the band and talented cast start rocking, you will be hooked.

The story uses a series of flashbacks we see Gloria as a girl (Isabella Preston) in Cuba, singing, and dancing because that was in her spirit and heart. Her family fled to Miami after the overthrow of the Batista government.  Due to their flight from Cuba, Gloria’s mother – (Karmine Alers) abandoned her own dream of performing. As Gloria (Maria  Bilbao) grows up she wants to follow her dreams of singing, but her mother does not support her dream.  We find that Gloria encounters Emilio Estefan (Jose Luaces) who invites her to join his band the "Miami Latin Boys".  As Gloria emerges as the face of the band and its lead singer, the band changes its name to the Miami Sound Machine.  This also signals a change in creative direction.

Though the band has a large following on the Spanish speaking music charts, they yearn to cross over and expand their appeal.  They break out of their niche in the 1980s with such hits as "Conga" "1-2-3", "Get on Your Feet" and many more.   Many of their hits are present in the two-hour performance and are woven throughout the story.

The story also covers the near-tragic tour bus accident that almost ended her career.  Gloria overcomes this obstacle and returns to the stage.  The show wraps up with a rousing medley of high energy hits including " Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”, “Oye”, “Turn the Beat Around”, “Get On Your Feet!”

The performances of the cast are first rate and what we have come to expect from the WBT.  Maria Bilbao really has you convinced during the performance that you are seeing Gloria Estefan live.  Brilliant. 

So get on your feet and get to the Westchester Broadway Theatre.