By Elizabeth Ahlfors


On Broadway, Andrea Burns is currently seen playing Gloria Estefan’s controlling mother in On Your Feet!, but this month, she delivered an engaging look at her own vibrant, saucy personality. She stepped into the spotlight at Feinstein’s/54 Below, igniting the room with Latina-infused effervescence. She may assert that Latinas don’t play, but Burns had as much fun as her audience as she delivered a program spiced of infectious up-tempo ’80’s and 90’s pop songs with healthy doses of sazon, the Spanish seasoning.


Sazon is a red, flavorsome salt popular in Hispanic cooking. Burns quipped that it is the secret to a happy marriage as well as a popular salsa tune made famous by the late Puerto Rican singer, Celia Cruz. Burns delivers the lyrics by Emilio and Gloria Estefan and whether you understand Spanish or not, it gets the spirits moving, and later, “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez keeps the spirited momentum.


Burns has a theatrical voice that projects warmth and humor and accompanied by musical director and pianist, Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton) , five instrumentalists and two backup singers, she also included several ballads. With Peter Gabriel’s, “In Your Eyes,” she revealed a search for moments of simplicity in a life and world of complexity. Affably, she commented on her early life in Miami, a Jewish-Venezuelan child with a lifelong love for theater. “In my 20’s, I was Belle in Beauty and the Beast. In my ’30’s, I was Daniela in In the Heights and in my 40’s, I am Gloria Estefan’s…mother.”


Crowd-pleasing was a clever, social-media inspired song Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote specifically for her, “BTW, Write Back” (“OMG, this is your Facebook page…”). The high point, however, was a hilarious revisit to “Googie’s Medley” from The Ritz. Googie, originally played by Rita Moreno, was a singer in a bath house. She had a strong accent and could not quite hit the notes singing Broadway standards like “Shall We Dance,” “Maybe This Time,” and “People” but Googie blasted them all out with gusto. “Everybody rise!” for this Andrea Burns fiesta.

Andrea Burns presents this show again on Dec. 14 at Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 West 54th Street, NYC.