WBT Presents the Dazzling and Delightful Musical ON YOUR FEET.Published: Thursday, June 20, 2019 By: Camille Kaiser Source: THE CUE
From the lively overture, choreographed by Rhonda Miller, which included Gloria (Maria Bilbao) and the ensemble, the audience was captivated, anticipating the American success story of Cuban immigrants, Gloria and Emilio Estefan (Jose Luaces) who beat all odds to become a famous pop music couple. Both Bilbao and Luaces are charismatic and work well on stage.
In a flashback, young Gloria (Isabella Preston), is playing the guitar and singing to send a recording to her father, José Fajardo (Brian St. Cyr). She lives in a neighborhood of Miami, with her mother, Gloria Fajardo (Karmine Alers), and grandmother, Consuelo García (Sandy Rosenberg).
As an adult, Gloria is introduced by her grandmother to Emilio Estefan, who invites Gloria to perform one of her songs. She accepts in spite of her mother’s disapproval and brings her sister, Rebecca (Lauren Cosio) for moral support and Gloria performs “Anything for You” with her sister. Despite being shy, and not wanting to be in the spotlight, Gloria finds her place after being given advice from Emilio (“1-2-3”). She soon realizes she is falling in love with Emilio, and he realizes that he is feeling the same way (“I See Your Smile”). The couple hit the top of the music charts and launch a worldwide tour.
Unfortunately, Gloria is seriously injured in a bus accident and undergoes surgery. Her estranged mother rushes to her side where she and Emilio bond over their concern for Gloria (“If I Never Got to Tell You”). While the doctors told her that she may never walk again, thousands of fan letters and Emilio’s steadfast determination provided her with the encouragement to get back on her feet. She made a triumphant return to the stage with her performance of “Coming Out of the Dark” at the 1991 American Music Awards.
All of the actors clearly defined their characters and performed impeccably under the expert direction of Donna Drake. What the musical does best is illustrate the sacrifices it took for the Estefans to succeed.
Costuming by Keith Nelson was crisp and appropriate. Set design by Steve Loftus moved fluidly from scene to scene, making for a quick paced, well-timed production.
The musicians performed from a position backstage and were made visible prior to the start of the production, which was enjoyable.
This is a show with a good story and wonderful music and does what the title implies – gets you On Your Feet!
The production runs at the WBT through August 4th. Don’t miss it.