On Your Feet – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

For a spicy salsa kick with a Latin- American chaser, look no further than the triumphant musical tale of Gloria Estefan and her producer husband Emilio.  Join the winding conga line all the way to the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford until Sunday, June 24 as “On Your Feet!” commands your exciting attention.
This immigrant story features a three year old Gloria moving with her family from Havana, Cuba to Miami, Florida.  Along the way, she had to deal with a father battling an incurable disease, a mother who voiced her disapproval of Gloria’s hopes and dreams and an accident that almost destroyed everything she and her husband had worked decades to achieve.
“On Your Feet!” is energized by a book by Alexander Dinelaris, choreography by Sergio Trujillo and direction by Jerry Mitchell.
Combining an exploding juke box theme, with tunes like “Conga,” “1-2-3,” “Get On Your Feet,” “Anything For You”  and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” with an inspiring autobiographical story, the audience is treated to highs of extreme joy contrasting with real obstacles to success.  Their crossover music dreams are continually dismissed as impossible by record executives in the know as well as their refusal to release their hit singles in English.
In her home life, Gloria faces a heartfelt estrangement from her mother, the painful witnessing of her father’s illness and then the shattering reality of the tour bus crash with a truck that leaves her severely injured.  Her triumphant return to the stage, after battling incredible odds, is showcased in her performance at the 1991 American Music Awards. Her resilience and spirit can be applauded at every step.
For tickets ($22.50 and up), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org.  Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Follow the intriguing path to glory that Gloria and Emilio Estefan forge in the musical world. Get “on your feet.”

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