Musical biographies are big in the theatre world right now. And, judging by North Carolina Theatre’s production of On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, directed and choreographed by Julio Agustin, it’s easy to see why. This fast-paced musical is jam-packed with eye-catching choreography, humor, and heartwarming moments.
Complete with sweeping musical numbers and creative costumes, it tells the inspiring story of Emilio (Dhanny Burgos) and Gloria (Iliana Garcia) and their struggle to reach the top of the music charts. Viewers get to see this lively pair at all stages of life, thanks to adorable sibling duo, Aaron and Alondra Azcona, who play the younger versions of the title stars. They’re also treated to an up-close-and-personal look at Gloria’s female-led family. It includes the hilarious and endearing Sydia Cedeno as Gloria’s pushy-but-well-intentioned abuela and a stern-faced Shadia Fairuz as Gloria’s mother. The strong cast brings Gloria’s family to life and helps provide further insight into the star and her motivations.
And, speaking of stars, Garcia makes for a perfect Gloria. She is both soft and fiery, and she has the curls and the pipes to make for a believable Estefan. Likewise, Burgos is incredibly charming and dashing as Emilio and adds an air of fun and lightness to every scene. He also nails Emilio’s accent perfectly.
Viewers will cheer along as they witness Gloria and Emilio’s growing chemistry and camaraderie and their ability to overcome every surprising challenge life throws their way. Each song moves the action along and aligns perfectly with the mood.
NCT’s On Your Feet! is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It’s an emotional journey, but ultimately one that feels celebratory. It celebrates music, love, and the human spirit. It never shies away from the challenges Gloria and Emilio face as they try to reach success in a white-washed America, but its overarching message is that dreams are possible. So, while you might go for the glorious music, you’re bound to leave with something else: inspiration.
We love the arts. We write about them. Founded 2018.