Thursday, December 8, 2016

On Your Feet ** C+

If exuberance were all it took to make a Broadway musical a winner, this jukebox bio-musical about Gloria and Emilio Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine would make the grade. The infectious music of this Cuban-American couple is played by a terrific orchestra that is onstage for the big numbers. The two leads, Ana VillafaƱe and Ektor Rivera, are both excellent and are supported by a fine cast that includes Andrea Burns, Alma Cuervo and a young tap-dancing terror named Eduardo Hernandez. The dance numbers, choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, are relentlessly energetic. David Rockwell’s hyperactive set features two tall panels made of shutters that move around a lot. The costumes by Esosa are a treat. Jerry Mitchell’s direction is slick. Unfortunately, all the show’s strengths are largely undone by a lame book by Alexander Dinelaris. Its weaknesses are less apparent during the lively first act, but become increasingly problematic during the weak second act. The abrupt and rather flat finale morphs into an unusually lively extended curtain call. Go for the music and the dancing and try to ignore the book. It has been running for over a year, so clearly it has found an audience. Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes including intermission.

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