Gloria and Emilio Estefan are going Broadway. On Your Feet! — a musical about their lives and the music that made them famous — is being readied over the next year. It’s headed for a tryout run in Chicago in the summer of 2015 and, if all goes well, for Broadway that fall. So conceivably, if the pointedly inspirational show proves as powerful as its creators hope, the Estefans could be on the receiving end of some Tonys at the 70th annual ceremony.
Certainly, the team putting the show together has major theater cred, including Broadway and London. The Broadway powerhouse Nederlander Organization is partnering with Estefan Enterprises and Bernie Yuman to produce On Your Feet! Tony-winning director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell ( Kinky Boots, Hairspray and Legally Blonde) will stage it, and Sergio Trujillo ( Jersey Boys, Memphis) will choreograph it. Playwright Alexander Dinelaris ( Zanna, Don’t! and The Bodyguard) is crafting the book, incorporating songs from the vast Gloria Estefan-Miami Sound Machine catalog.
The Cuba-born Estefans have enjoyed growing fame and worldwide success since the mid-1970s, when a student named Gloria Fajardo started singing with the band that became Miami Sound Machine while working on her degree in psychology from the University of Miami.
Married since 1978, the couple built a music empire, as seven-time Grammy Award winner Gloria became the most successful Latin crossover artist of all time, and Emilio worked his producer’s magic with such stars as Shakira, Celia Cruz, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony, winning 19 Grammys in the process. The two have become authors, entrepreneurs who own a pair of hotels and a number of restaurants, minority owners of the Miami Dolphins, and multifaceted forces in showbiz (she acts, he produces and directs). So why Broadway, and why now? “The Nederlanders came to me over 20 years ago, wanting to do something with a Latino feel. I felt it wasn’t the right timing; I was 40 then,” Emilio Estefan says. “But I think this show can have a great message for minorities about dreams. It can be our way of saying thank you to a country we love.”