This post is sponsored by Al Punto Advertising. The opinions contained are all my own.
I recently wrote all about how excited I was to be attending the Opening Night for the Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical, “On Your Feet!” I mean, of course I had expectations going in because who doesn’t love Gloria Estefan and her music?
But the night far surpassed any expectation I had of just going and enjoying a nice show.
chaperon companion for the evening was my son, Jon. Full disclosure: Jon is not as completely well-versed as I am in “All Things Gloria” but on the drive up to LA – for us, that’s a 2 hour drive, but that’s not important right now – we played all of my favorites from Gloria starting from her Miami Sound Machine Days to present.
By the time we got to “Turn the Beat Around” Jon was completely on board. THAT is the power of Gloria.
Jon and I had the pleasure of being part of the media pack for the red carpet. Armed with only our cell phones (hello, 12 megapixel camera in my pocket!) and excited to be there, we had so much fun playing “spot that celebrity” on the red carpet.
Lucky for us, we were stationed directly next to the Univision team which afforded the best photo ops ever.
This post will contain tons of photos, because, just like I talk with my hands, I also use photos to tell my stories. Because Cuban.
It happened to be 95 degrees on Tuesday, July 10th at the Hollywood Pantages but we were completely distracted by all the lights and sounds and fun and “Hey, is that Michael Bolton?”
Jon is much more poised than I am. I’m really the ultimate fan-girl in these situations. And I was delighted to run into some friends on that red carpet.
I’m the one who’s all yoo-hooing and connecting. Because (again) Cuban.
It was so much fun to see so many famous and familiar faces. Some of the stars kind of ran through the gauntlet of cameras and didn’t give us much of a chance to fawn. My old friend, Chef Ramiro Arvizu who was escorting the beautiful Angelica Maria recognized me as “Abuela” from my turn on Buzzfeed’s Abuela vs. Chef. (I felt sooo accidentally cool.)
The couple who played Gloria and Emilio on Opening Night were Christie Prades and Mauricio Martinez, who are both breathtakingly gorgeous and phenomenally talented.
The lovely Jeimy Osorio – she played Celia Cruz in the novela, “Celia” was just flawless.
And of course, Gloria and Emilio totally owned that red carpet like the consummate professionals they are.
They were so gracious to grant interviews and I was impressed by how present they seemed to be for every single outlet and each and every fan. They signed autographs and smiled for photos for every person who asked. I just loved that about them.
Of course, everyone wanted photos and selfies with the stars. But I guess that goes without saying. How adorable is radio personality Eddie “Piolin” Sotero and his family?
It was also super chaotic (in the best possible way) as Gloria and Emilio moved up and down the carpet to greet and connect with every single person. Oh the Cubanity!
Take a look at this clip that will help you feel the energy of the entire night.
You know, I love a great live show and we Darbys (being a nerdy drama family) have seen lots of wonderful performances. But I can tell you without a doubt that this is the most fantastic Broadway type show I’ve ever seen.
Maybe it’s because their story is our story. Gloria and Emilio Estefan showcased Cubans in a way that had not happened since the days of our beloved Desi Arnaz as I Love Lucy’s Ricky Ricardo.
I can’t say enough good things about it. The music, was, of course, extraordinary and the story, being the true story of Emilio and Gloria was both fantastic and inspiring. Dedicated to one another and to achieving the American Dream, their music, their talent, and of course their Cuban heritage makes for a remarkable story of how they achieved global superstardom.
It was nearly impossible to stay in my seat during the musical numbers and I confess there were also quite a few tears. Little Gloria singing on tape to her dad in Vietnam totally wrecked me.
Christie Paredes and Mauricio Martinez embodied Gloria and Emilio Estefan perfectly. In fact, I have seen Gloria in concert before and Christie sounded like her, moved like her, and made you want to get up and dance in the same way Gloria did. It was pretty uncanny.
You can see some of the highlights of Opening Night right here. Also, at about the 1:34 mark you may be able to spot this Cuban blogger fangirling like a boss.
Gloria and Emilio took the stage at the end of the show to thank the cast and the LA crowd. Could the night get any better??
As a matter of fact… let me tell you about the after party.
Held in a local Hollywood Club on famous Hollywood and Vine, we were treated to a VIP party like no other. We heard the music start with the unmistakable beat of a very famous timbalera.
“Jon. That’s Sheila E.”
Then I had to explain exactly and in great detail who was entertaining us at this fabulous Hollywood Party and about her connection to Prince. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
Surrounded by my good friends and fellow “Cubiches” from Cuban Heritage Day, we danced the night away. I couldn’t have been more satisfied, until…
“Hey, Marta. Have you met the Estefans yet?”
A question which, honestly, I hadn’t ever expected to hear in my real life, much less by someone who was waiting to introduce us.
Emilio and Gloria Estefan couldn’t have been more gracious.
When I met Gloria – I KNOW. SHUT UP. – I explained that I wrote a blog called, “My Big Fat Cuban Family.”
She said, “You?!”
I have no idea whether she had heard of me before or that was just the first thing that popped into her head. Either way, I was completely delighted to be ending the night on such a high note.
“Gloria, let’s do this.”
This was a night like no other and I am so grateful to The People Who Run The Universe who made the stars align so perfectly so that I got to see an amazing show and meet one of my Cuban idols.
Also, if you are in LA, get yourselves over to the Hollywood Pantages and get your tickets to see On Your Feet! The show is there until July 29th. You really don’t want to miss it. You will sooo thank me later.
[Here’s a link to a special ticket offer. You’re welcome. SPECIAL OFFER – $49 (REG. $79 AND $59) ]
I’m still basking in the glow of that perfectly perfect night and I haven’t been able to stop dancing and singing,“O-E-O-E! O-E-O-O-AH!”
The lyrics totally captured my night:
No clue, of what’s happening to you
And before this night is through
Ooh baby, the rhythm is gonna get’cha.
Ya tu sabes.