Cuba, Conga & Broadway! The Musical Journey of Gloria & Emilio Estefan
Nothing captures the essence of what is New York City, more than Broadway.
One of my goals while being a New York City resident, is to soak up as much as the city has to offer.
That means hitting up Broadway show after Broadway show.
But of all the Broadway shows that are still left on my list to check out, this particular one, has special ties to my home-Miami, my Cuban culture & traditions-and of course, Gloria Estefan, one of my favorite performers of all time.
Live music, amazing acting, and a beautiful storyline paired with one of America's legendary musical acts, and what do you get?
ON YOUR FEET!
Growing up in Miami you probably lived under a rock if you didn't know who Gloria Estefan was. There was not a party that you attended that didn’t end with the CONGA, and you probably danced too many quinces that involved one or two of Gloria’s classics. And, of course, who can forget her big curly hair, ripped denim jeans and that voice that screamed “Mi Tierra”- a song about Cuba, and the home and roots she left behind.
Anyway, back to the show! ON YOUR FEET! is a new musical based on the life story of seven-time GRAMMY® winning international superstar Gloria Estefan and her husband, legendary producer-musician-entrepreneur Emilio Estefan. It is the story of two people who—through an unwavering dedication to one another and their pursuit of the American dream—showcased their talent, their music and their heritage to the world in a remarkable rise to global superstardom.
Set to Gloria’s chart-topping, smash hits such as “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, “1-2-3,” “Mi Tierra,” and “Conga,” in addition to new music written by their daughter, Emily, the show brings a new sound to Broadway.
Directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Hairspray), and choreographed by four-time Drama Desk nominee Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Memphis) with a book by two-time Drama Desk nominee Alexander Dinelaris (The Bodyguard Musical, Zanna Don't), the show is a two hour performance showcasing lives the of Gloria and Emilio.
I laughed, I cried and I danced, all at the same time. You will journey through time from the beginning of little Gloria’s life, understand the relationship with her father while he fought in Vietnam, relate to her struggles when her mom opposes her following her dreams, love the relationship she has with her abuela, who always encouraged her to keep fighting for her passions and fall in love with the dynamic love story between Emilio and her.
This same journey takes you into a musical whimsical of tunes with an amazing orchestra and beautiful dancers moving to the beats of the timbales. It takes you back to the racism that Latinos faced in the 70’s and 80’s (and sometimes still today), brings you to understand the Cuban culture that included the struggles of migrating from Cuba in search of a better life and the perseverance that saw her through it all. You will learn about the tragedy that almost changed Gloria's life forever, and how that same tragedy is what brought back the unity of the family. It culminates with the tried and true concept of believing in yourself, despite the struggles and opposition you may find.
Ana Villafañe and Josh Segarra do an amazing job at playing the leads in On Your Feet! I fell in love with Ana! She is so beautiful, and has such energy on stage. I can see why she was chosen to play Gloria. Villafañe, like Gloria, is a Cuban-American singer, dancer and actress from Miami. Ironically, she could not make the auditions in Miami, but sent in a video audition. Three days later, she was cast in the show. What’s meant to be, will be!
Here are a few videos from the site. I loved learning about their journey to Broadway!
Go watch ON YOUR FEET at the Marquis Theatre. You will CONGA all the way home. I know I did- The Rhythm is Gonna Get you- It def got me!