Bottom line: stars of four.
In most musicals from jukeboxes, the songs are the show’s selling point.
On the Foot of Yours! However, by providing a story that places the viewer entirely within the lives of Latin superstars Emilio and Gloria Estefan, it shatters the stereotype.
Their battle and success story is the heart of the show and is complemented only by a soundtrack that sounds like nothing else to grace the stage of musical theater.
The musical, which made its Broadway debut in 2015, premiered at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow on Monday night. It tells the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, a 26-time Grammy Award winning couple.
Young Gloria is introduced to the audience, played by Olivia Kate Holding, who lives in Miami with her family, where she fled in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution. There she meets her future husband, Emilio, who instantly accepts the talent of Gloria and encourages her to be the best version of herself she can be.
Emilio takes the teenage Gloria, played by Philippa Stefani, under his wing. The singer is slowly becoming the biggest star in Latin music through his guidance and vision before rising to the American charts. When they both fall in love and get married, she also becomes the biggest star in his eyes.
The path to success, however, is not an easy one for the pair. Gloria’s mother, played by Madalena Alberto, is not approved by Emilio, played by George Ioannides. He also has to fight the discriminatory attitudes of record label executives and change the view of their Latin sound in the music industry.
With Gloria’s father fighting multiple sclerosis and the singer herself overcoming injuries sustained by her tour bus crash, their success is also overshadowed by tragedy.
But the ups and downs are comforted by the true love between the main characters – something brilliantly executed by Stefani and Ioannides. Their chemistry onstage makes you fall in love with the love of the Estefans. With ease, they combine humor and vulnerability, showing the viewer what true love could look like.
Besides the romance, Gloria’s grandmother, played by Laura Friedrich Tejero, is the standout star of the season. Through her comedy routine, she had the crowd laughing and always lightened the mood. In every scene, it was a dream to watch her.
With Latin-inspired choreography that truly embraced Cuban culture, the ensemble cast enhanced the performance.
Via her songs, Gloria herself was also honored. For this production, the decision to put a live band on stage worked wonderfully. In the theatre, some of Gloria’s greatest hits, including 1-2-3, Conga and Dr. Beat, sounded electric.
On the Foot of Yours! Musical theater is at its very best. One of the biggest stars of Latin music celebrates the fusion of music, acting and choreography and shows how her legacy paved the way for a new generation of singers.
On Your Foot, See! From Saturday at King’s Theatre.