BWW Review: ON YOUR FEET! at ASU Gammage
Not even midterm election night could keep Miami Sound Machine fans away from ON YOUR FEET! The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical in Tempe, Ariz.
It's been 30 years since I first saw the Cuban-fusion pop group perform at Ohio's Timberwolf Amphitheater in Kings Island, but reproduced tracks from their then "Let It Loose" album aren't as electrifying on this 2018 stage.
Songs with "you" in the title did well on that multi-platinum disc: "Can't Stay Away From You" (Billboard #6), "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" (#5) and "Anything For You" (#1). This jukebox musical includes two of those hits and nearly two dozen other tunes that lose their luster when sung by other characters.
The first act plods through the Little Havana roots of then "Glorita" and the shy girl performance that leads to her fronting for the Miami Sound Machine. Act I ends with an upbeat rendition of "Conga", but it becomes evident in Act II that Christie Prades lacks the sparkle (and Gloria's Spanish grandparents' ceceo in "Don't Want To Lose You") that made Ms. Estefan a 1980's icon.
Ektor Rivera (Emilio, her husband), Nancy Ticotin (Gloria Farjafo, her mother) and Alma Cuervo (Consuelo, her grandmother) have the most fun with Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris' clever libretto. A tip of the kippah to JeanPaul Medina Solano for his energetic dancing as bar mitzvah boy Jeremy.
As with any good novela, ON YOUR FEET! has a dramatic backstory that includes estrangement, jealousy, tragedy and revival. Although never quite answering the question Whatever became of...?, it almost satisfies any MSM longings.
How can you go wrong with direction by Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (KINKY BOOTS) and Olivier Award winning choreographer Sergio Trujillo (JERSEY BOYS)? It's not easy, but OFF YOUR FEET! might have been a more accurate title this evening.
ON YOUR FEET! runs through Nov. 11 at ASU Gammage. Tickets are available online.