Critique: Spanish premiere of ‘On Your Feet!’ showcases Estefans’ common attractiveness

Critique: Spanish premiere of ‘On Your Feet!’ showcases Estefans’ common attractiveness
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7 a long time right after “On Your Ft!” initial conga-ed its way to Broadway, the Gloria and Emilio Estefan jukebox musical has arrived at GALA Hispanic Theatre for a lively Spanish-language premiere that plays not like a reinvention but fairly the staging that was constantly intended.

The primary English-language manufacturing, which ran at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre from 2015 to 2017 ahead of touring the United States and transport to London’s West Stop, garnered a track record as a fairly rote but dependable crowd-pleaser, many thanks to a toe-tapping, hip-shaking songbook courtesy of the Estefans and their former pop team, Miami Sound Equipment. But for a point-based show that derives drama from the electricity couple’s try to “cross over” from the Latin market place to the American mainstream, “On Your Ft!” resonates anew when staged largely in Spanish with English surtitles.

Peter Marks’s 2015 critique of “On Your Toes”

That solution adds authenticity and heightens the hurdles the Estefans overcame to crack by means of in an Anglicized industry. When the show’s dialogue pivots from Spanish to English late in Act 1, as a file producer (played by Grant Latus) resists the couple’s drive to release a track in English, the “othering” of the Estefans is all the additional maddening.

For this production, subtitled “La Historia de Emilio y Gloria Estefan,” Esmeralda Azkarate-Gaztelu translated Alexander Dinelaris’s by-the-quantities ebook and Gloria Estefan wrote new Spanish lyrics to four songs. The exhibit tracks the Estefans’ rise, commencing with their humble Cuban American roots and concluding with Gloria’s comeback overall performance soon after her 1990 tour bus crash and spinal surgery. Together the way, the musical attracts depth from its portrayal of the qualified and personal partnership at its main, and the multigenerational sacrifices that paved the way for the Estefans’ immigrant achievements tale.

As Gloria, Gaby Albo deftly navigates the route from sheepish star to global icon although belting her way by means of these types of hits as “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “1-2-3” and “Anything for You.” Samuel Garnica, who inhabits Emilio with a well balanced brew of overt charisma and underlying intensity, shares the show’s cathartic showstopper “If I Never Received to Convey to You” with Fran Tapia, a standout as Gloria’s bitter mom. Madelin Marchant makes the most of her welcome comedian aid as Gloria’s grandmother, and Kamila Rodríguez charms in a fleeting but influencing visual appeal as a youthful Gloria.

Despite the fact that non-Spanish speakers may have difficulties maintaining up with the English surtitles, which essential some fantastic tuning at Sunday’s functionality, that’s of small consequence for a clearly show which is much more spectacle than story. On that front, director and choreographer Luis Salgado — who presciently performed director and choreographer Kenny Ortega in the Broadway version of the show — delivers the products. Amid Christopher Annas-Lee’s eye-popping lighting, Patrick Lord’s immersive projections and Jeannette Christensen’s candy-colored costumes, Salgado lets his sizable ensemble shine with boisterous dance breaks (on music these types of as “Tradición,” “Cuba Libre” and “Conga”) and dreamlike diversions.

The band, shepherded by new music director Walter “Bobby” McCoy, is strikingly situated on a system higher than the stage, even if the output puzzlingly hides the musicians for most of the exhibit. Even now, their festive audio permeates the personal area without having ever overbearing the viewers. As the skeptical report producer learns in the display, the appeal of the Estefans’ audio — regardless of whether it’s done in English, Spanish or a blend of the two — is aware no boundaries.

On Your Ft! La Historia de Emilio y Gloria Estefan, tunes by Emilio and Gloria Estefan and Miami Audio Equipment. Reserve by Alexander Dinelaris. Book translation by Esmeralda Azkarate-Gaztelu. Directed and choreographed by Luis Salgado. Music way, Walter “Bobby” McCoy scenic style, Clifton Chadick lighting, Christopher Annas-Lee costumes, Jeannette Christensen seem, Matthew Rowe projections, Patrick Lord. With José Fernando Capellán, Gina María Fernández and Winsley de Jesús. About 2½ several hours. $35-$95. Via June 5 at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW.