On Your Feet! Musical will knock your socks off

On Your Feet! Musical will knock your socks off
Ana Villafane in "On Your Feet!"

“On Your Feet!” the Broadway Bound musical based on the real life story of seven-time GRAMMY® winning international superstar Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio, the legendary producer-musician-entrepreneur opened Wednesday at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre.

The show landed on its feet at Wednesday’s opening receiving the red carpet treatment with lights, cameras and action along with an assortment the who’s who of the theatre world and celebs including the Estefans.

To describe the show in one word is to call it energetic–better yet, E-N-E-R-G-E-T-I-C!

If you want more than a word—and there is a lot more—here goes.

The story, in a nutshell, is about two people, each of whom had a dream. Then they found each other and built on that dream–through their unwavering dedication to one another. They took their dream along with their talent, their music and their heritage onto the world stage where they rose to the stratosphere of stardom.

The musical did a beautiful job of incorporating the story with the dynamic music of Gloria through her chart-topping, smash hits such as “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “1-2-3,” “Get On Your Feet,” “Don’t Want To Lose You Now,” and “Coming Out Of The Dark,” in addition to some new tunes penned by the Estefans.

Alexander Dinelaris (an Oscar winner for his co-writing of “Birdman”) seamlessly pulls together their story using Estefan’s own songs to tell her family’s saga, taking them out of chronological order to advance the narrative.

Humor, pathos and passion bookended by small domestic scenes and full-blown productions including a showstopping dance down the aisles of the theatre at the end of act one–kept the audience right where they wanted them–in their hands–and at times–on their feet!

The casting was top-notch across the board including the leads: Ana Villafañe (Gloria), a Cuban-American singer, dancer and actress from Miami, who makes her Broadway debut in ON YOUR FEET!, not only belted Gloria’s songs with breath-taking style but could be a double for the young Gloria, and co-star the hunky Josh Segarra as Emilio, who’s made a name for himself on the New York stage in roles such as ‘Boland’ in Second Stage Theater’s Dogfight directed by Joe Mantello, and as ‘Mick’ in the Broadway and Off-Broadway runs of the critically-acclaimed Lysistrata Jones, who were a perfect match.

Other standouts included: Drama Desk Award winner and the very talented Andréa Burns (In The Heights) as Gloria Fajardo (Gloria’s mother); and Alma Cuervo (Beauty and the Beast) as the foxy, kindly grandma Consuelo who watched out for Gloria like a hawk.

The cast also features Alexandria Suarez as Little Gloria, Noah Johnston as little Emilio, Felix Monge, Karmine Alers, Yassmin Alers, David Baida, Natalie Caruncho, Henry Gainza, Lee Zarrett, Linedy Genao, Carlos Gonzales, Nina Lafarga, Genny Lis Padilla, Omar Lopez-Cepero, Hector Maisonet, Marielys Molina, Doreen Montalvo, Liz Ramos, Eliseo Roman, Luis Salgado, Marcos Santana, Martin Sola, Brett Sturgis, Eric Ulloa, and Tanairi Vasquez.

Talent on steroids continued behind the scenes of this production with director Jerry Mitchell (previously in Chicago for the pre-Broadway run of “Kinky Boots”), choreographer Sergio Trujillo ( “Jersey Boys”) and the Estefans who oversaw the entire project.

Adding to the high-volt energy of the show was the full-blown onstage orchestra with music direction by Lon Hoyt (Hairspray)–and with several members of The Miami Sound Machine in the orchestra.

Tickets for ON YOUR FEET!

Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online.  In Chicago through July 5, 2015.

ON YOUR FEET! opens on Broadway on Thursday, November 5, 2015, with preview performances beginning Monday, October 5, 2015 at the Marquis Theatre in New York City.

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