By Michael P Coleman
If you make the very wise decision to see the first national tour of On Your Feet! The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical during its Sacramento run, you’ll find that the show’s title gives you a clue of what to expect. Plan to spend a lot of the evening on your feet! The show opened last night at the Community Center Theater and runs through November 4.
On Your Feet!’s music is nostalgic and phenomenal, which is to be expected given many of the Grammy Award-winning musicians from Miami Sound Machine are on the road with the show. Its first half ends with a raucous rendition of “Conga,” the band’s massive breakout hit from the 80s that introduced them to most of the english-speaking world.
It was a brilliant way to end the show’s first half, and one that the production struggled with later in the show. That struggle was exacerbated by the show’s story arc, which covers Gloria Estefan’s near fatal tour bus accident in 1990, and the legend’s painstaking return to the stage.
That said, stars Christie Prades and Ektor Rivera handled the gravitas of the subject matter with aplomb. Rivera reprises his role from the show’s Broadway run, during which Prades understudied. Both their chemistry and their phenomenal voices buoyed the audience during the show’s slower moments. I was particularly impressed with how well Prades emulated Gloria Estefan’s cadence and vocal nuances, and with Rivera’s…everything.
As good as the two stars were, they were almost overshadowed by two of their costars. Nancy Ticotin shined as “Gloria Fajardo,” Estefan’s mom, and Alma Cuervo, as Estefan’s abuela, earned the audience’s admiration with her superb comic timing and delivery.
But with a jukebox musical like On Your Feet!, it’s really about the music, and this one delivers. I was among the many who, at the turn of the century, admired the shaken bon-bon of Ricky Martin, who often gets credit for being the catalyst behind today’s latin music boom. But those of us were with there give credit where it’s due: to the Estefans and Miami Sound Machine. Catch On Your Feet! while it’s in town, and don’t be afraid to let the rhythm get you.
Tickets for On Your Feet! start at $31 and are available at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street, Sacramento, or by calling 916-557-1999. They are also available at the Community Center Theater Box Office, 1301 L Street, Sacramento, or by calling 916-808-5181, or online at BroadwaySacramento.com or tickets.com.