The new musical, which is now on its First National Tour, is the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan that follows her from a young girl, meeting Emilio and their eventual rise to the superstars that they are today. The journey wasn’t all highs though; they show they hard work, the massive amount of “no’s” they received along the way, deaths and a terrible accident that almost claimed the life of the singer.
The music is obviously terrific but the story has a few holes that is sometimes is head-scratching. Major characters die and it’s never mentioned, save for a line or two. And the couple has a son but you don’t really know he exists until he pops up as a 9-year-old kid (played by the ridiculously talented Jordan Vergara)halfway through the show.
Thankfully though, those story holes are incidental because the cast, led by Christie Prades and Ektor Rivera as Gloria and Emilio Estefan, is wonderful. Prades simply is Gloria Estefan. She sounds like her both vocally and musically and she’s a joy to watch. Rivera, who also starred in the Broadway version, is charming and, having the benefit of all the best lines, funny as heck. The two of them together make a winning pair.
And not to be forgotten are Nancy Ticotin as Gloria’s mother and Debra Cardona as the grandmother. Both take roles that could easily be standard character types and turn them into something rich.
Filled with all their hit songs, director Jerry Mitchell brings a vibrant and light touch to the show. And by the end, you’ll be standing alongside every audience member clapping and singing along as the band plays an energetic medley of their music.