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Early on in the Argentinean film “El Último Traje” (The Last Suit), which makes its U.S. theatrical debut this week, a deceptively quaint and humorous scene takes place between the film’s protagonist, 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein and his young granddaughter. The little girl refuses to join in a family photo with Abraham surrounded by his many grandchildren. When he cajoles and insists, ..

Gone are the days when filmmakers needed huge budgets, and major movie studios backing them with big bucks to get their films seen, according to two producers who spent decades in Los Angeles, and have now moved their base to Miami Beach. "From a creative standpoint, there are amazing opportunities for filmmakers today," says producer Kevin Chinoy, who, along with producing partner Frances..

Mark St. Germain has achieved ongoing success with small-cast plays involving historical figures in fictional scenarios, and South Florida has been as welcoming to his work as the rest of the country. St. Germain’s “Camping With Henry and Tom,” about a 1920s camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding, was produced in 1996 by New Theatre in Coral Gables..

Mexico City-based theater collective Teatro Ojo's works are constantly evolving. Nothing is ever really finished. That's because they take from every performance. Whatever the audience experiences, observes, feels, and offers feedback, which they highly encourage, all is used, considered, and included in the evolution of the same piece, or introduced into another new work. Two of the ..

“America’s Greatest and Least Known Playwright.”This is how the Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes is referred to several times throughout Michelle Memran’s documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” which makes its Florida debut this Saturday as part of Miami-Dade College’s Miami Film Festival. Fornes has been called the “Mother of Avant-Garde Theater.” Theater giants like Edward A..

“Once” has always been touched with magic. And as anyone who has seen the sublime new production of the show by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables would tell you, the musical’s spellbinding pull is as powerful as ever. When Irish director-screenwriter John Carney first told the tale of a heartbroken Irish street musician and the spunky Czech pianist who reignites his passion, a 200..

Consider the idea of land in Palestine, and conflict may be the first thing to come to mind. But for Jumana Emil Abboud, the Palestinian landscape evokes other, older, associations – with mythological creatures like water spirits and ghouls. “These stories were told way before 1948,” says the Galilee-born artist, speaking by phone from her home in Jerusalem. She suggests looking back ..

Steven Levenson’s “If I Forget” began its Off-Broadway run a year ago, closing just six weeks before the now 33-year-old playwright won the Tony Award for writing the book of the acclaimed musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” Cut to February 2018, and South Florida already has its own exquisite production of “If I Forget,” thanks to GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler. Levenson’s fun..

In a career that continues to soar two decades after his first play was produced, Michael McKeever has premiered his dramas, comedies and short plays at theaters all over South Florida. Nearly always, he’s involved in those productions as the author, sometimes as an actor, at times as a set designer. The plays get their start here, then go on to productions (sometimes multiple product..

When M. John Richard decided to leave the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in late 2008 to become president and chief executive officer of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, he arrived in South Florida with a vision, myriad ideas and a long-term exit strategy. “I knew in 2008 that I had a 10-year run in my tank,” says Richard, 65, who plans to retire from his Arsh..

On Your Feet!’: The Rhythm of a Life

Written by: Diana Dunbar
Article Rating

The songs are familiar; the love story is also familiar but made fresh in “On Your Feet!,” the musical biography that comes to Miami this week. The narrative of Emilio and Gloria Estefan meeting, falling in love and creating a long-lasting partnership -- both professional and personal -- is told through the music and songs they created and successfully presented to the world.

“On Your Feet!” enthusiastically does what Broadway excels at, telling a good story, and one filled with the immigrant experience, adversity and conflicts, along with the musical movements of an era.

The exuberant piece is inherently about the music and dances of Cuba. Its upbeat choreography reaches back to the island and the story of salsa, which some say originated in the city of Santiago de Cuba, from Cuban son and other styles like cha-cha-cha and mambo. Salsa is a combination of Spanish and Afro-Cuban (and Afro-Caribbean) musical elements, both in terms of rhythm and the instruments used, such as the guitar and drums. Both the dance and music of salsa became wildly popular in New York starting in the 1970s. These dance floor hits and ballads made Gloria Estefan and the band Miami Sound Machine a radio and MTV favorite in the 1980s.

“There is a strong connection between music and dance in Cuba,” says Neri Torres, founder of Ife-Ile Afro-Cuban Dance & Music. Torres created choreography for the Estefans’ tours, which she says offered an opportunity to showcase Cuban dances, “which is embedded to our culture,” to an international stage.

The energizing choreography in this case for “On Your Feet!” is the work of Olivier-Award winner Sergio Trujillo, of “Jersey Boys” fame. It engages with its speed, turns, lifts and dips within the context of salsa. “On Your Feet!” is vibrant, riveting and uplifting – much needed these days when every morning seems bear more bad news.

“On Your Feet! also offers up a bio-drama surrounding the music industry and the obstacles the Estefans’ had to overcome in taking their music to a wider audience. It’s hard to understand now how such songs as “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” “Don’t Wanna Lose You Now,” the iconic “Conga,” and so many others would not be considered cross-over hits at the time.

And then there were the personal obstacles. Miami and the rest of the world danced along with the Estefans until a tour bus accident almost silenced the music. A somber segment is poignantly shown by a dream ballet sequence to the song “Wrapped.” This falls into Broadway’s common use of dream ballets to bring gravity to a segment – for instance in “An American in Paris”and “Carousel.”

“On Your Feet!” is a musical that resonates with a generation and especially with Miami, its rhythms and dance evoking a nostalgia for a time and place, helped out nicely with sets that conjure images of an older Miami and even older Havana. Yep, it’s likely “gonna get you.”

“On Your Feet!”opens Thursday and runs through Oct. 15; Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets start at $29. For various times and tickets, 305-949-6722;


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