Monday, November 16, 2015

Broadway Theater Review: On Your Feet!

Josh Segarra and Ana Villafane. Photo: Matthew Murphy
The Rhythm of This Show is Gonna Get You
By Lauren Yarger
Another jukebox musical has hit the Broadway boards this year, but this time, the music will probably get you.

On Your Feet! Is the story of the relationship and music careers of seven-time GRAMMY® winning international superstar Gloria Estefan (Ana Villafañe) and her husband, 19-time GRAMMY® winning producer-musician-entrepreneur Emilio Estefan (Josh Segarra).

With a book by Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman, The Bodyguard Musical), we follow how the two meet, rise to the top of charts with their band, the Miami Sound Machine, and make it through life’s challenges including Gloria’s near-fatal car crash.

The two meet in Miami, where Gloria’s mother Gloria Fajardo (and excellent Andrea Burns), a woman who once dreamed of making it big as a singer, discourages her daughter’s ambitions in the hope that she will have a more secure future. She also just doesn’t like Emilio and isn’t behind that relationship. Her mother, Consuelo (a delightful Alma Cuervo) goes behind her daughter’s back to encourage the romance.

Dinelaris’ book, which tends in the way of too many biographical stage scripts, includes far too much information and countless scene changes and flashbacks (with little Gloria and Emilio played by Alexandria Suarez and Noah Johnston and younger Emilio played by  Eduardo Hernandez, who also doubles as the couple’s son, Nayib). Director Jerry Mitchell might have insisted on a few cuts to tighten up the production.

Trying to tell every single thing that ever happened to these folks for more than 30 years in just under two and a half hours cobs up the storytelling a bit, but the really glamorous costumes by Esosa, the combustible choreography by Sergio Trujillo (assisted by Maria Torres and Marcos Santana) and the pace of the Cuban-flavored music, played on a stage by a large great-sounding band (some of whom are original members of the Sound Machine) directed by Lon Hoyt, keep us fully entertained. A conga line for which members of the audience are snatched concludes the first act, but folks are bopping and enjoying the music throughout.

Hits like “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “1-2-3,” “Get On Your Feet,” “”Mi Tierra,” “Don’t Want To Lose You Now,” and “Reach,” are included as well as an original song written by Gloria and her daughter Emily Estefan.

It’s a feel-good musical and we can’t help but admire the spirit and triumphs of Gloria and Emilio Estefan (both portrayed well here with great vocals to match) and feel grateful that they have shared their story with us.

On Your Feet! rocks out the Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway, NYC. Performances are Tuesday and Thursday at 7 pm; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2 pm; Sunday at 3 pm. Tickets are $55 - $199:; 877-250-2929.

Full Creative:
Featuring Music Produced and Recorded by Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Miami Sound Machine; Book by Alexander Dinelaris Direction by Jerry Mitchell; Associate Direction by Andy Senor, Jr.; Choreography by Sergio Trujillo, Associate Choreography by Maria Torres and Marcos Santana, Scenic Design by Eugene Lee, Set Design by David Rockwell, Projection Design Darrel Maloney, Costume Design by Esosa, Wig and Hair Design by Charles G. LaPointe, Lighting Design by Kenneth Posner, Sound Design by SCK Sound Design, Music Direction and Arrangements by Lon Hoyt, Orchestrations by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Additional Orchestrations by Jorge Casas and Clay Ostwald, Dance Music Arrangements and Dance orchestrations by Oscar Hernandez. 

Additional cast:
Fabi Aguirre, Karmine Alers, Yassmin Alers, David Baida, Natalie Caruncho, Henry Gainza, Linedy Genao, Carlos E. Gonzalez, Nina Lafarga, Genny Lis Padilla, Omar Lopez-Cepero, Hector Maisonet,Marielys Molina, Doreen Montalvo, Liz Ramos, Eliseo Roman, Luis Salgado, Marcos Santana, Martín Solá, Jennifer Sanchez, Brett Sturgis, Kevin Tellez, Eric Ulloa, Tanairi Sade Vasquez and Lee Zarrett…. Ensemble

-- No content notes. enjoy.

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York in February 2018.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle. and the Episcopal Actors' Guild.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2018 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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