Karen Pawlowski reviews On Your Feet! with Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago
Short and Sweet Critic for the day, Karen Pawlowski of Medinah, attended Broadway in Chicago's On Your Feet! To review the show from the perspective of the audience. According to Pawlowski, she and her husband "couldn't have enjoyed the show more." Apparently, they were not alone -- Pawlowski was also impressed by the audience's reaction to the show: "There were cheers and clapping; you could just feel the energy in the room."
See below for a review by Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago:
The Pre-Broadway world premiere of Gloria Estefan's On Your Feet! opened at Broadway In Chicago's Oriental Theatre to an overwhelming ovation from the audience. From the moment the curtain opened to reveal an on-stage band gliding downstage on a platform with brazen trumpets and Latin rhythms there was no question that the "Rhythm is gonna get cha". The energy was electrifying and infectious. The show reveals the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan; their beautiful romance, struggles to be acknowledged in the American pop music industry, rise to fame, family issues and tragedy in a debilitating bus accident. But what I think I loved most about the show is that is truly depicts the heart and soul of Latin American family values, humor, and the perseverance to achieve the American dream.
The show has a powerhouse production team with music and lyrics of course written by the Estefans, even including a song written with Gloria's daughter, Emily, who is also an aspiring singer/songwriter. The script is crafted well by Alexander Dinelaris, Academy Award-winner for his screenplay of Birdman, and directed by Broadway veteran and Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Hairspray). The writer and director perfectly captured the Latin American matriarchal sensibility and sense of humor with lines like "You're only 19, you know 19 things. I'm 48, I know 48 things." The performances by Josh Segarra (Emilio Estefan) and Ana Villafañe (Gloria Estefan) are honest and captivating. They are sincere with a commanding presence. Villafañe is the perfect Gloria with a gorgeous and powerful voice coupled with a warm and engaging smile that immediately wins the audience. Segarra is perfectly understated as Emilio and demonstrates his strength and power from his determination, sarcastic sense of humor and laser focus. The jokes in the show are relatable and laugh-out-loud funny; special mention goes to Alma Caruncho for her outstanding comic timing as the meddling grandmother.
The opening night audience itself was truly amazing, it was one of the most sophisticated, well-dressed, international crowds I've ever seen at the theatre and it was so refreshing. This show brings out an eclectic range of people to celebrate this amazing international power couple and their music. The Act I finale spilled out into the audience with a conga into the lobby that literally had the audience up on their feet and by the end of the show, the standing ovation was electrifying with everyone dancing and singing in approval, appreciation and excitement to see this amazing new show launched for success.
On Your Feet! is in Chicago through July 5th at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago, and is scheduled for an opening on Broadway in October. I know that the rhythm is going to get you too - so don't miss your chance to see this fantastic show. The show runs about 2 hours and 15 minutes with an intermission and is suitable for all ages.