With buzz steadily brewing around Broadway circles for the past year, Gloria & Emilio Estefan’s “On Your Feet!” finally landed at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre featuring the celebrity super couple in attendance to celebrate their stirring story and 100 million album selling songbook. Though they weren’t starring in the show per say, their presence surely added extra emotion to spectacular performances from Ana Villafañe (Gloria) and Josh Segarra (Emilio), plus a vibrant musical cast anchored by several original members of the Estefans’ band Miami Sound Machine.
“On Your Feet!” is just as much a story of setting goals as it is survival and resilience, culminating with the classic ballad “Coming Out Of The Dark” signaling Gloria’s miraculous ability to come back from the cripplingly calamity…
Having all those assets from the get go brought an instant authenticity to “On Your Feet!” starting with the opening beats of “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” through the standing ovation-earning “Gloria’s Hit Mix” finale. In between, longtime fans and newcomers alike were given the inside scoop on the immigrant couple’s hardship-ridden upbringings, their tireless pursuit of the American dream, eventual attainment of riches beyond their wildest imaginations, followed by an unthinkable tragedy that almost wiped it all away in a split second.
At first, thanks to universally familiar songs such as “Anything For You,” “1-2-3” and “Conga,” the seven time Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Gloria and the 19 Grammy winning producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/entrepreneur Emilio appear virtually unstoppable on their crossover chart conquest. And while the pair manages to stay grounded thanks to building their foundation on family rather than fame, a completely out of the blue tour bus accident threatens to not only take away their livelihoods, but also the leader’s life.
However, “On Your Feet!” is just as much a story of setting goals as it is survival and resilience, culminating with the classic ballad “Coming Out Of The Dark” signaling Gloria’s miraculous ability to come back from the cripplingly calamity (both personally and professionally). As her success picks up right where it left off, attendees are treated to yet another round sing-a-longs alongside a hearty dose of life-affirming inspiration, all of which are destined to last well beyond the final curtain call.