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Review: ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at The Majestic Theatre

Review: ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at The Majestic Theatre

This whirlwind production runs until December 11th at the Majestic.

Review: ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at The Majestic Theatre
Gaby Albo and Samuel Garnica
Photo by Mary Stucchi

The National Tour of On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan has hit the stage at San Antonio's Majestic Theatre. This high-energy, emotionally powerful show has something for everyone and leaves the audience energized and feeling hopeful. From the start, this show offers a glimpse into the lives of two, now world-famous, Cuban-American immigrants. What's so touching about this story is how it highlights the incredible circumstances that so many in America have overcome. Director/Choreographer, Luis Salgado, helps to highlight the power of the story in a moment in which Emilio says "Look at my face, this is what an American looks like." The stage froze, images flashed on the screens of folks of varying ethnicities and the cast all came out on stage repeating the words "This is what an American looks like." It was so powerful because this was also one of the most diverse casts of a National Tour that I've seen in a while. The joy these actors had of authentically representing Cuban culture and immigrant life on stage was evident on their faces. There was not a moment in this performance when the entire ensemble wasn't fully invested in the scene.

Gaby Albo, playing Gloria Estefan, is the definition of a triple threat. Not only could she sing, act, and dance but she did all three at the same time with ease. She makes it look easy which allows the audience to sit back and enjoy the show. Her abilities allowed her to traverse Gloria's journey from beginner dancer to superstar and honestly, at the beginning she made it look easy to make it look difficult.

Her work with Samuel Garnica (Emilio Estefan) was genuine. The two had previously played opposite each other in the Spanish Language premiere of On Your Feet! and it was clear that their time with these roles and working together had made their on-stage relationship strong, believable, and one that the audience was rooting for.

Garnica brought everything from charm to comedy as Emilio Estefan. In a show that focused heavily on Albo, Garnica held his own delivering incredibly emotional vocals, heartfelt acting, and smooth dance moves. He was the epitome of a leading man. His ability to balance tenderness and strength is an asset I hope he continues to develop because it was incredible to watch.

This highly personal story would be nothing without a deep connection to family. Francisca Tapia's (Gloria Fajardo) voice was phenomenal but her acting was so realistic she moved the audience from being slightly annoyed with her to being frustrated when Gloria refuses to speak to her daughter, and finally to empathizing with her as she worries about her daughter's life. She did a magnificent job at being a stubborn, misunderstood, mother. When it is finally revealed that she had given up on her own dreams for the sake of her family the audience was so endeared by her acting they couldn't help but have a change of heart.

Adriel Orlando Garcia as José Fajardo caught your heart from the start with his adorable messages to his daughter while away at war. His heartfelt singing tugged at the hearts of the audience and made his transformation into an older gentleman suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) even more painful to observe. Having witnessed how MS affects the human body his ability to take on the physical characteristics of this disease was painful to watch, which is a sign of great physical commitment to character.

The real show stealer of the family was Adela Romero as Consuelo (Abuelita). Who doesn't love a supportive grandmother? Romero brought great comedic timing and nurturing nature of a loving matriarch. She had the audience hooting, hollering, and cheering.

The entire company was fantastic and executed the choreography with precision and the best facial expressions. One thing I love to see is a cast having a good time on stage and really bringing the director's vision to life. Salgado not only threw some very fast-paced difficult choreography at the ensemble but also made some very wonderful stage pictures. One moment that stands out was during Gloria's surgery. What was so striking about it was that Gloria was mostly still while the ensemble danced around her. That juxtaposition was a great visual given the very real circumstances that she may never walk again depending on how the surgery went. Salgado beautifully directed a difficult story that was made even more difficult by the fact that it is a representation of a real-life experience.

On Your Feet! will only be at the Majestic Theatre this weekend and can't urge you enough to go out and see it! I'm considering going to see it again.

Review: ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at The Majestic Theatre
On Your Feet Ensemble (M Stucchi)
Review: ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at The Majestic Theatre
On Your Feet Ensemble (M Stucchi)
Review: ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at The Majestic Theatre
Gaby Albo (M Stucchi)
Review: ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at The Majestic Theatre
Francisca Tapia (M Stucchi)


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From This Author - Bryan Stanton

Bryan Stanton is a theatre educator in San Antonio,TX. Prior to jumping into the classroom he worked as an Event and Show Producer for both SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld San Diego. While in San... (read more about this author)


Interview: Luis Salgado of ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at Majestic San AntonioInterview: Luis Salgado of ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN at Majestic San Antonio
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On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan is sweeping the nation in it's second national tour. Today BroadwayWorld was able to sit down with Director and Choreographer, Luis Salgado to learn about the journey this production has taken.

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After seeing the wonderful touring production of On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio we had the chance to sit down with the phenomenal Gaby Albo who plays Gloria in the National Tour to learn a little bit about her journey in theatre up to this point and the importance of this story.

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