“On Your Feet!” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – November 8, 2018


Broadway Across America – Arizona
ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

“On Your Feet!” is an extravagant entertainment that uses a generous collection of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s hit tunes, Sergio Trujillo’s splashy dances, Jerry Mitchell’s non-stop jazzy staging, and a first-rate cast of impressive impersonators who essay the two lead roles and others associated with the popular artists.

Much dazzling amusement is displayed on stage, but the show is not really a Broadway musical.  It recreates the up-and-down challenges of Estefan’s rise to success and shows Gloria’s determination to succeed that was hampered by her almost tragic accident that resulted from Emilio’s pressure to become top tier entertainers.  We also meet Gloria’s stubborn Mother who almost squelched Gloria success due to her fears that show biz might not create the triumph the pair hoped to achieve.

But without Gloria’s glorious tunes, the show wouldn’t be much.  It is just a dazzling succession of huge production numbers created around the songs with a splash here and there of life’s realities that could have stopped the duo’s remarkable success.

The garish production enchanted the crowd by delivering a wallop of artful entertainment.  But this is not a probing or insightful show as it entertains but never enlightens.  The Estefan’s story isn’t unique.  And the songs are similar.  The first time the show explodes all over the stage, it is impressive but over and over, the show gets predictable.

As Christie Prades sings and dances, she comes close to a near perfect Gloria impression as does Ektor Rivera’s Emilio although Rivera looks considerably better than the real life person he portrays.  Nancy Ticotin is somber as Gloria’s worrying mother.  Alma Cuervo is cute as Gloria’s supportive grandmother, Consuelo, while Ana-Sofia Rodriguez and Jordan Vergara are amazing as the young entertainers.

David Rockwell’s sets move fluidly to create the various spaces where the pair evolved and Rockwell crafts dazzling production sparkle for the myriad of musical numbers.  Emilio Sosa’s costumes help audiences know where you are either in the real world or in the artificial entertainment environment.  Bright lighting helps create the glistening stage milieu.

If you are a Gloria Estefan fan, “On Your Feet!” will astound but if you aren’t a fan, “On Your Feet!” won’t do much for you.  The show continues through Sunday, November 11 at ASU Gammage.  For the few remaining tickets, call Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787.

Grade: C+