I adore going to The Marlowe Theatre and when I changed jobs in July, one of my leaving gifts was a Marlowe gift voucher. When I received the voucher I went straight onto the Marlowe website to book tickets for a performance of On Your Feet!: the Gloria and Emilio Estefan jukebox musical, managing to secure 2 premium seats in the stalls for £58 (one £10 discovery ticket and one full-price adult ticket). My parents are big Gloria Estefan fans and she was a household name when I was growing up. My Dad introduced me to her greatest hits album after a trip to Walt Disney World in 2009, where we were fortunate enough to eat at the Estefan family’s Bongos Cuban Cafe restaurant at Downtown Disney. I instantly became a fan of the Miami Sound Machine too and when I heard that Gloria and Emilio had a musical of their own in the works, I was determined to get tickets for one of the UK dates. Skip forward 6 months and last night it was time for my Dad and I to go and see the production, which was just as brilliant as we’d hoped it would be.
Gloria and Emilio’s families grew up in Cuba and fled to the USA after the revolution and the start of the Castro regime. The musical takes place in Miami, Florida in the 1970s, when the pair met and the band began. We learn that Gloria is a keen songwriter but she doesn’t like the limelight and the idea of performing for Emilio and the band is terrifying. Throughout the show she grows in confidence, as she becomes closer to Emilio and the band gains some momentum. The pair marry very early on and together with the band they put every effort into gaining US and worldwide success. “Dr Beat” and “Conga” are some of the notable hits that help them become global music superstars and the journey to this point in their career completes act 1.
Act 2 has a very different tone as it covers the horrific car crash that the Estefan family were involved in, at the height of Gloria’s career. The accident happened in 1990 and doctors feared Gloria would never walk again after the crash. We learn that she needed to have a very severe operation and spent nearly a year in physiotherapy, gradually building up her strength again so that she could make a comeback at the 1991 American Music Awards. Spurred on by fans, Gloria makes a full recovery and performs at the American Music Awards to a cheering crowd. Ending with a lively finale full of Gloria and the Miami Sound Machine’s major hits and covers, On Your Feet! ends on a high celebrating Gloria and Emilio’s amazing careers.
A feel-good and empowering musical, On Your Feet! is a musical about family, dreams and never giving up. Unlike other jukebox musicals, there are only a handful of key characters but this really helps showcase the talent of the leads. Gloria and Emilio are on stage for the majority of the performance and Philippa Stefani was absolutely incredible in the title role. On Your Feet! has given me a newfound appreciation for the Estefans and everything they have given to the music industry. On Your Feet! is at the Marlowe until Saturday, so definitely try and get tickets if you’re based locally.
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx