More Than Just a Musical, On Your Feet! Tells the Story of Every Immigrant

Photo by Ian Witlen
There’s no doubt Gloria and Emilio Estefan are Miami’s quintessential power couple.

As successful musicians, business owners, and activists, the Estefans make the Magic City proud. But the story of these two — who fled Cuba is search of a better future in the United States — isn’t exclusive to them. In fact, it’s the story of not only Miami transplants who left their homeland in search of opportunity in the Land of the Free, but also every immigrant.

And though the Estefans' autobiographical musical On Your Feet!, which will come to the 305 for performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center October 5 through 15, tells the couple's story of love and success, the Broadway show is just as much a Miami tale.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Gloria Estefan says of the musical making its Magic City debut. “The fact that we grew up in Miami is what gave us the ability to make the music that we did. We had an audience for it here. I think that if we would have grown up in the Midwest, first of all, it wouldn’t have had the same impact — we would have made the same music. So it is very much — both the music and the story — a Miami story. I think people are gonna be surprised, and they’re gonna like that very much.”

This will be the first time On Your Feet! hits Miami, but it won’t be the first time Miamians have seen the musical. In fact, at the Marquis Theatre in New York, where On Your Feet! holds its residency, Gloria admits it’s easy pinpointing her fellow Miamians in an audience of more than a thousand.

“Super Q, Y 100, the names of clubs back in the '80s like Honey for the Bears — you’re gonna get a lot of references from that time,” she explains. “It has to be a particular time span that people are gonna pick up on this, but just the sights and sounds and feelings of Miami, it’s all there.”
Though those “sights and sounds and feelings" of the Magic City add extra spice to On Your Feet!, the musical is more than a nostalgic and fun experience: “This play, more than anything else, is about minorities,” Emilio Estefan asserts.

“Believe it or not, there are some parts in the play that I still cry,” he adds. “When I left my grandfather, I knew I would never see him again. A lot of people will identify with that, especially Miami people.”

But people everywhere can identify. And in this day and age, teaching others how to relate to and understand one another is what the world desperately needs. That, and the reminder that we are all immigrants.

“This is who we are. What makes the United States the great country that it is, is this amazing combination of people from all over the world who have brought their own magical culture and background to this amazing land," Gloria says.

“When Emilio did the song ‘We’re All Mexican,’ that was the point,” she explains. “He showed the astronaut and people who have done wonderful things — that are Latinos. ‘We’re All Mexican’ is really a metaphor. It could be anyone. We’re all in this together, and when somebody gets bashed, we all have to stick up for each other. And the best way to stick up [for each other] is to put out all the good stories and the wonderful things that we as immigrants have contributed to this country and continue to do.”

On Your Feet!
Presented by Broadway in Miami. October 5 though 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; Season ticket prices for the five-show Broadway in Miami subscription package range from $155 to $692. Current subscribers can renew their season tickets before the general public beginning February 6, 2017. Single tickets to the 2017-18 Broadway in Miami season will be available in early fall.