Theater Review: “On Your Feet” – Kansas City


“On You Feet”

May 22, 2018

Starlight Theater – Kansas City



They were one of the most popular bands of the 1980s, selling over 100 million albums worldwide.   But before the Miami Sound Machine started, what was the story that brought Emilio and Gloria Estefan together?

With set pieces set in Cuba and Miami, “On Your Feet” is a highly entertaining tale about two people destined to meet and create some of the most popular music of the last century.  It is also a story of the power of love, which comes into play after tragedy strikes and music is the furthest thing.

The show rides along on the mighty shoulders (and voices) of Mauricio Martinez and Christie Prades who, as Emilio and Gloria, share the majority of the vocal duties.  Both are well cast and their chemistry is evident.

The supporting cast is equally strong.  The choreography is top notch and the direction keeps the show flowing easily.  And then there are the songs!

If you’re looking for an entertaining night at the theater, you can’t go wrong with “On Your Feet.”

The show plays in Kansas City through May 27th.  For upcoming show information and tickets, click HERE


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Book Review “The Chappy Ferry Book: Back and Forth Between Two Worlds – 527 Feet Apart”

Written by: Tom Dunlop
Photos by: Alison Shaw
128 pages
Vineyard Stories
Release date: July 1, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When most people hear the word “Chappaquiddick” I would venture to guess that, if they have any knowledge of history, they think about the night of July 18, 1969. On that night Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy drove his car off of the narrow Dike Bridge into Poucha Pond. While Kennedy survived the accident, his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned despite several attempts by Kennedy to rescue her. But Chappaquiddick is much more than a place in history. As I have in the past, thousands of people each summer make their way to the tiny island. And we all got there by way of the Chappy Ferry.

From a single row boat at the beginning of the 19th Century to the modern contraption that hauls both people and cars today, the Chappy Ferry has taken people from all walks of life the 527 feet from Edgartown, the main town on Martha’s Vineyard, to the tiny island that boasts less than 150 yearlong residents. Author Tom Dunlop has turned his almost lifelong fascination with the Ferry into an in depth look at how a 90 second voyage can turn into memories that last a lifetime.

Dunlop’s prose is beautifully accompanied by the dazzling photography of Alison Shaw. Many of her shots capture not only the workings of the Ferry but also the beauty of its watery highway. The Ferry has been used by fishermen, beach bathing enthusiasts, people looking to have their car repaired (the only business on the island is a combination general store/service station) and politicians (how do you think Senator Kennedy got his car TO the island. Incidentally, as he was heading to, and missed, the last scheduled ferry of the evening the Senator actually swam back to Edgartown). It’s also been used by Hollywood, co-starring in a key early scene in “Jaws.” And since I mentioned movies, an added bonus to this compendium is a 15 minute DVD entitled, of course, “The Chappy Movie.” The film, narrated by Dick Ebersol , was produced exclusively for the book by John Wilson.

Blu-ray Review “Happy Feet Two”

Directed by: George Miller
Starring: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Pink
Sofía Vergara,Common, Hugo Weaving, Richard Carter, Magda Szubanski, Anthony LaPaglia
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date: March 13, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 105 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When “Happy Feet Two” tanked at the box office, I was not shocked at all. I thought the trailers looked terrible and had no interest in it at all. Well, let me start by saying it wasn’t that bad but not great either. The best part of the movie was the visuals. The CG was so clear and I am sure this film would look amazing in 3D, especially with the krill scenes. Speaking of krill, the adventures of Will and Bill (voiced by Brad Pitt & Matt Damon) where easily the best part of the whole film. Besides that, I love Pink’s singing in the film and enjoyed the music quite a bit as well. It wasn’t all Lady GaGa and Beyonce, those peguins rocked out to some Queen and David Bowie as well. The story on the other hand was not so great.

The story follows Erik, the son of Mumble and Gloria and his adventure to find out why he is special…I think. Then there is a lot of music and dancing in between. Then a glacier traps the colony of penguins and they need to break them free with…wait for it…dancing and music. I am not really sure how George Miller does it going from films like “Mad Max” to “Babe” to “Happy Feet” and then right back to “Mad Max: Fury Road”. The Blu-ray presentation unlike the story is absolutely amazing. The video presentation is near flawless. The audio is speaker-blasting good and really maxes out its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.

Like the film, the special features are lacking in the entertainment department. You have the ability to download the “Happy Feet Two Movie App” and take advantage of “Second Screen” on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. There is interactive games and sing-alongs. There are four behind-the-scenes featurettes, running about 25 minutes and are definitely aimed for kids. They are: “Helping Penguins and Pals”, “How to Draw a Penguin”, “Running with Boadicea” and “The Amazing Voices of Happy Feet Two”. What is this film without it’s music, well there are a few sing-alongs included for “The Mighty Sven,” “Bridge of Light” and “Papa Oom Mow Mow” and a look at Pink’s new song. Lastly, there is a CG-animated Looney Tunes short starring Tweetie and Sylvester called “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat”. It also includes an original song from the voice of Mel Blanc. So it is probably the best feature easily.

Buy It 3/13 on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with UltraViolet Digital Copy or Download to Own
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Synopsis: The sequel to “Happy Feet”, the Academy Award®-winning animated smash hit, “Happy Feet Two” returns audiences to the magnificent landscape of Antarctica in Superb 3D. Mumble, The Master of Tap, has a problem because his tiny son, Erik, is choreo-phobic. Reluctant to dance, Erik runs away and encounters The Mighty Sven – a penguin who can fly! Mumble has no hope of competing with this charismatic new role model. But things get worse when the world is shaken by powerful forces. Erik learns of his father’s “guts and grit” as Mumble brings together the penguin nations and all manner of fabulous creatures – from tiny Krill to giant Elephant Seals – to put things right.

Film Review “Happy Feet Two”

Starring the voices of: Elijah Wood, Hank Azaria and Robin Williams
Directed by: George Miller
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 40 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Penguins are so darn cuddly. So much so that films like “March of the Penguins” and the first “Happy Feet” waddled home with Academy Awards. And lots of money. Add those two facts up and you get “Happy Feet Two.”

With the thumping beat of “Sexyback” on the soundtrack, we return once again to the waddle of penguins (that’s right, kids, a group of penguins is called a waddle) that enchanted us in “Happy Feet.” Mumble (Wood) is grown up and married to Gloria (Pink, taking over from the late Brittany Murphy). They have a young boy named Erik (Ava Acres) who is, shall we say, choreographically challenged. Mumble couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket but he could sure trip the light fantastic. Sadly it appears that, when it comes to dancing, Erik has two left flippers. Meanwhile, out to sea, we come across two daring krill named Will (Brad Pitt) and Bill (Matt Damon). Will wants to see the world, leave the large school of fellow krill they swim with and snack on something other then plants. “I want to eat something with a face,” he declares to Bill. Old penguin pal Ramon (Williams) can’t seem to buy a date, so he decides to head out in the world to find the future Mrs. Ramon. Dejected by his lack of rhythm, Erik follows Ramon. When the two come across a flying penguin named Sven (Azaria) the adventure begins.

Beautiful to look at and featuring strong voice work, “Happy Feet Two” is a musical that suffers musically. While the first film relied on such classic songs as “Somebody to Love,” “Boogie Wonderland” and “Tell Me Something Good,” many of the songs in the sequel are original. And bland. Though I admit I have no idea how you would go about rhyming the word “penguin.” It’s not that songs like L.L. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” or the Rivingtons’ oldie “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” are better known. It’s just that they’re better written.

The voice cast does very well adding their personalities, as well as their voices, to the characters. Pitt and Damon get the lion’s share of the good lines and they’re comic typing is impeccable. Azaria has fun with Sven while Robin Williams does double duty as both Ramon and Lovelace. Pink is strong as Gloria while other voices (Sofia Vergara, Common, Anthony LaPaglia) keep the story moving. The film slows down some when Mumble tries to group the various wintry wildlife together but is still visually lovely to look at. Again, the original songs make it not that lovely to listen to.