Friday, December 15, 2017

Cleveland Will Pay $375,000 to Victim of 2014 Police Shooting

Posted By on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 4:45 PM

ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • ERIC SANDY / SCENE
This week, the city of Cleveland paid $370,000 in a legal settlement with Kipp Holloway, who had sued the city and the police department over accusations of excessive use of force. Sgt. Timothy Patton shot Holloway during a 2014 response to a robbery report.

From our earlier story

As Holloway explains in his civil complaint, he met two acquaintances who gave him a ride to a nearby RTA station. Those two men were absconding from a robbery, Holloway soon realized. He ran from the car after the driver hit a fire hydrant.

Patton and Lt. Paul Baeppler caught up with Holloway in a garage, where Holloway said he was unarmed. Patton shot the man in the arm and "yanked [Holloway] up to his knees and forced the barrel of his weapon into Holloway's mouth," according to the lawsuit. ("The good news is he's alive and can talk about it," Holloway's attorney told Cleveland.com when the case was initially filed with the county.) Holloway says the two Cleveland police officers mocked his injuries afterward. He's also undergone at least three surgeries because of the shooting and has shrapnel in his chest, where the bullet ricocheted after hitting his arm. You can read the full complaint below.

During the case and through the police department's internal discipline process, it was confirmed that the city had failed in its training of Patton and Baeppler.

“The shooting of Kipp Holloway was completely unjustified. Timothy Patton shot and permanently injured a man who was surrendering and unarmed,” Terry Gilbert, one of the attorneys representing Holloway, said in a public statement this week. “Yet again an officer attempted to justify a shooting by covering his actions with a fabricated story."

Add another $375,000 to the millions of dollars paid by the city of Cleveland to cover excessive use of force settlements.

Holloway v. City of Cleveland by sandyatscene on Scribd


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Darnold, Lavar and How Much Football Is Too Much? — The A to Z Podcast With Andre Knott and Zac Jackson

Posted By on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 1:45 PM

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Andre and Zac ramble and argue on Lavar Ball's mission, the importance of football in Northeast Ohio and how the NFL views Sam Darnold.


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Charlottesville Killer James Alex Fields Now Faces First-Degree Murder Charge

Posted By on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 11:25 AM

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James Alex Fields, the Ohio man who drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville this summer, now faces a first-degree murder charge for the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

A Charlottesville district court Judge announced the new, upgraded charge at a hearing yesterday. Many of Heyer's family, friends and supporters were in attendance. 

Fields has said that he drove to Charlottesville by himself from Ohio and wanted to hear a speaker at the rally — he was revealed to have had Nazi sympathies in high school.

The "Unite the Right" rally was organized by white nationalists after the city of Charlottesville decided to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a popular city park.

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Treading Dangerously: Lax Safety Inside Goodyear’s Tire Plants

Posted By on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 10:18 AM

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This story was originally published by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at revealnews.org and subscribe to the Reveal podcast, produced with PRX, at revealnews.org/podcast.

As daylight faded, Matthew Smith and Kerrybeth Hall were in rural West Texas headed to college when the left rear tire of Smith’s black Ford pickup failed.

The truck skidded sideways on the busy highway, smashing through a wire fence before rolling over in the parched plains, killing them both.

Police listed the Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor tire – among more than 40,000 the company later recalled – as a cause of the crash that August day in 2011.

The fatal accident is a stark example of the deadly consequences of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s lax approach to safety, contributing to deaths of motorists on the road and workers in its plants, a six-month investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found. Tires involved in the accidents were manufactured in Goodyear plants in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Danville, Virginia, where intense production demands and leaks in the roof during storms have endangered both workers and consumers for years.

Reveal interviewed dozens of current and former Goodyear workers and analyzed hundreds of federal and state agency documents and court records from seven states. In interviews, several former employees said they felt pressure to put production before workplace safety. Others recalled a quota-driven motto invoked on the shop floor: “Round and black and out the back.”

“The pressure to get the job done was very intense,” said Joel Burdette, who worked as an area manager at the company’s Union City, Tennessee, plant before it closed in 2011. Burdette then took a similar job at the Danville plant, leaving in 2014.

“That was a motto: Anything goes as long as it goes onto the truck and gets shipped out,” he said.

About seven months after Smith and Hall were killed, Goodyear sent out recall notices.

“Use of these tires in severe conditions could result in partial tread separation which could lead to vehicle damage or a motor vehicle crash,” the company stated in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Goodyear noted it had been monitoring problems with the SilentArmor tires since at least May 2010, 15 months before the deaths of Smith and Hall.

The tire in Smith and Hall’s crash was made in Fayetteville, but at least two others died in accidents over the last five years after tires made at Goodyear’s Danville plant failed. Another motorist, Harry Patel of Michigan, became a partial quadriplegic in 2012 when a tire on his Nissan Pathfinder separated, causing the SUV to flip and land in a ditch. That tire was made at Goodyear’s Fayetteville plant.

After hearing arguments from Patel’s lawyers that Goodyear had ramped up production, compromising the quality of its tires, a jury awarded him $16 million, one of the largest product liability awards in Michigan’s history. The 2015 award, which Goodyear has appealed, was cut nearly in half because of state liability caps.

“The shocking collapse of safety controls at Goodyear’s plants has inflicted immeasurable losses on the many families of Goodyear customers killed in avoidable tragedies,” said John Gsanger, an attorney for the families of Patel and Hall.

A deadly record

Manufacturing tires is a hazardous process requiring a vigilant approach to safety. In plants that can stretch over 50 football fields, workers use massive machines to fashion rubber and steel into tens of thousands of tires for everyday motorists and clients ranging from NASCAR to FedEx.

The plants can be grimy. Machines that grind rubber spew fine dust over workers’ clothes and faces. Even after showering, they ooze black residue from their pores, leaving imprints of their bodies on their bedsheets.

“It’s like working in a coal mine,” said Bo Rosas, a former maintenance manager at Goodyear’s Danville plant. “When you blow your nose, you see black film.”

But even among its peers, Goodyear stands out. The tire giant is among the deadliest manufacturers in the nation for workers, Reveal’s analysis of data from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows. Since August 2015, five Goodyear workers have been killed – four at the Virginia plant in one year alone.

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Ellis Jones, Goodyear’s senior director of global environmental health, safety and sustainability, called the company’s workplace deaths “an unusual situation.”

“We reacted after every incident,” he said, referring to the company’s rash of workplace accidents. “We did have to take a step back and say, ‘Let’s look at the system within Danville and identify the gaps in the system, and let’s close those gaps.’ ”

While acknowledging those safety lapses, Jones said the company’s tires are safe for consumers.

“Each stage of the process, that raw material, that component is tested, and that finished tire is tested for quality,” he said. “So we’re very confident about the quality of our product.”

After serious workplace accidents, the company’s managers have both clashed with investigators and admitted to regulators that they ignored workplace safety lapses, Reveal found. In one instance, a manager admitted to an accumulation of oil over a period of days due to a reduction in personnel in the cleaning crew.

Since October 2008, Goodyear has been fined more than $1.9 million for nearly 200 health and workplace safety violations, far more than its four major competitors combined.

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But its deadly track record has received scant national attention, and the publicly traded company has continued to profit from clients ranging from Boeing to the U.S. military and took in $1.3 billion in net income last year.

Shifting politics in Washington stand to further insulate companies such as Goodyear from accountability. Reinvigorating manufacturing and job growth is at the core of President Donald Trump’s economic agenda.

Yet protections for factory workers, who overwhelmingly supported Trump, are being dismantled. The administration is rolling back and postponing Obama-era protections in keeping with goals laid out by the National Association of Manufacturers, a prominent Washington industry group.

Richard Kramer, Goodyear’s chairman, chief executive officer and president, serves on the association’s board. A Goodyear spokeswoman said Kramer was unavailable for an interview but made Jones available instead.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. – a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions – said lobbyists for dangerous companies should not be permitted to dismantle workplace protections.

“President Trump and Republicans in Congress have taken one whack after another at regulations that make sure workers are safe on the job,” Warren said in a statement to Reveal. “Washington is supposed to work for hardworking Americans, not for the trade associations for the companies that make their profit by taking shortcuts on worker safety.”

In the pit

Just before midnight on April 11, 2016, Charles “Greg” Cooper, a maintenance mechanic on the graveyard shift, descended alone into a machine pit in the dimly lit basement of the tire plant in Danville.

He set to work replacing a broken rope that wicked oil from wastewater swirling in a huge vat. Rubber, hooks and wires lay strewn around him on the floor near the pit, where steam rose from the boiling water.

Federal rules require a safety guard or cover on any openings in the floor. But about six months earlier, an electric pump had broken, and “there was still a huge hole left directly over the pit,” records show.

Several hours passed before a manager noticed that Cooper was gone and dispatched his co-workers to search the plant. Finally, one of their flashlights sliced through the darkness, its beam illuminating his body, floating face down in the pit. Then came the official call: “Man down!”

It was far too late. Cooper had been boiled alive.

Cooper was the third of four workers to die at the company’s Danville plant over one year ending in August 2016.

A Virginia workplace safety investigator who arrived to scour the area where the 52-year-old died noted it was slippery. The floor around the gaping hole atop the pit was “covered with oil, grease, water and rubber due to lack of housekeeping and it simulated a condition like working on ice,” the investigator wrote.

The hole had been in plain view of a maintenance manager who was required to inspect the area on each shift, records show. Investigators found two other holes nearby.

After the accident, Greg Kerr, the plant’s manufacturing director, told a local newspaper that Goodyear would “work with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the local authorities to fully investigate the incident.”

Yet Goodyear’s conduct after the investigation proved quite the opposite.

“Employer difficult to deal with,” an investigator from the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program noted. “Slow to respond to any request, encouraging employees to not cooperate.”

Some Goodyear workers told local police, on condition of anonymity, that Cooper never should have been working alone that night. They said the plant’s policy had required maintenance employees in the area to work in pairs since 2007, when a worker in the same part of the plant was severely burned and later died.

“At no time were maintenance workers to work in that area alone, as it is one of the most dangerous areas of the plant,” police investigators wrote. Nevertheless, Cooper was assigned to make the repair by himself, police records show.

In near darkness, giant machines resembling egg beaters thrash bales of rubber into flat sheets, drowning out workers’ voices. So even if Cooper had screamed for help, “there’s no way you could get in touch,” Wayne Barber, his longtime work partner and close friend, told Reveal.

“What gets me is him being in the pit for so long and nobody going to look for him,” he said. “The supervisor should have found out where he was after that long.”

Barber wrestles with how things might have been different if he had been at Cooper’s side that night instead of at home mourning the recent death of his wife.

“He wouldn’t have stayed in that hole for four or five hours,” Barber said as he sat on his front stoop, adding quietly, “It could have been me. We might have both ended up in the hole.”

Chronic workplace safety hazards

While investigating an earlier incident at another Goodyear plant, federal workplace safety investigators found unguarded floor holes had long been a problem.

In February 2015, about a year before Cooper was killed, a worker at the Topeka, Kansas, plant suffered third-degree burns on the left side of his body as he worked on a tire-curing press.

Investigators wrote that the plant’s then–safety manager, Tim Washeck, told them that floor holes had been “observed for as long as they can recall and … covering them had not been considered in the past.” OSHA cited the plant for the violation.

The following month, a worker at the company’s plant in Gadsden, Alabama, fell from a platform, which lacked standard railings, onto a conveyor belt, breaking his left arm, shoulder, four ribs and collarbone. Oil leaking from a nearby milling machine covered the floor where he had been working. The plant’s safety manager, Charles Skaggs, was aware of the oil leak and open-sided platform, investigators noted.

Washeck and Skaggs did not return calls seeking comment. Jones, Goodyear’s senior safety director, declined to comment on specific cases but noted that Goodyear safety officials are expected to ensure that “every associate goes home safe.”

In settlements with the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program after lapses that included the four Danville deaths, Goodyear admitted it had violated workplace safety and health laws more than 100 times. The company agreed to a reduced fine of $1.75 million earlier this year.

And in a move that three former top federal safety officials called “highly unusual” and “outrageous,” Virginia regulators at the time invited the company to apply for the state’s so-called Voluntary Protection Program, which shields companies with exemplary safety programs and below-average injury rates from routine safety inspections.

Virginia is one of 28 states and U.S. territories that run their own workplace health and safety programs, covering private- or public-sector workers or both. Most of these states have adopted standards that are identical to those set by OSHA.

Soon after the Goodyear settlement, a 61-year-old contract worker was killed at the company’s Topeka, Kansas, plant when a falling object struck him in the head. He left behind a wife and daughter.

OSHA imposed a fine of $27,713 against Goodyear for the accident, which the company quickly contested.

“A firm in which five workers are killed over 18 months is clearly a firm in which the management is not adequately focused on worker safety,” said David Michaels, who led OSHA under President Barack Obama and now is a professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“It is also a sign of the absence of operational excellence, since worker fatalities and serious injuries do not occur when the production process is tightly controlled.”

‘Round and black and out the back’

Gerri Hall remembers the day his daughter, Kerrybeth, came home from school and told him she’d decided to become a paramedic. She was 14. The petite blonde with a piercing laugh learned that her father, a firefighter and EMT, had rescued her friend after a car accident.

“She thought that’s what she was here for, is to help people,” Hall said.

Two weeks before she was due to start a paramedic program at Victoria College in Texas, police found the 18-year-old’s mangled body still strapped into the passenger seat after the Goodyear tire failed.

“Disbelief,” said Hall, 51, who lives in Placedo, near the Texas Gulf Coast, a little more than an hour’s drive northeast of Corpus Christi. “I always wake up thinking I’ll see her.

“Kerrybeth was our rock, and we all leaned on her,” Hall added. “It has torn the foundation of our family apart.”

Since Kerrybeth’s death, Gerri Hall says he has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He quit his job as an EMT and firefighter, unable to face any more car accidents without picturing his daughter. In a safe at home, he keeps an old cellphone with a text his daughter sent him just before the wreck. “Love you too daddy,” she wrote.

A tire industry expert hired by John Gsanger, the Hall family’s lawyer, blamed design and manufacturing flaws for weakening the Goodyear tire before it failed, according to court records. Goodyear’s lawyers insisted the tires were safe and said the truck must have hit an object that caused the tire to separate.

A dozen former workers at the company’s Fayetteville and Danville plants gave sworn statements criticizing the plant’s practices, according to court filings. In interviews with Reveal, more than seven other former Goodyear workers blamed intense production demands and leaks in the plants’ roof during rainstorms for weakening some tires, potentially causing them to fail. In court records, some former workers have said managers expected them to meet production quotas, but it is unclear whether quotas still exist at Goodyear.

In a sworn statement, David Hyde, who worked as a tire builder at the Danville plant from 1977 to 2009, said the “round and black and out the back” motto was emblematic of the company’s operational failures.

“Goodyear talks the talk, but they don’t walk the (walk),” Hyde said. “They, you know, they say they want to build a quality product. … You just don’t understand the stuff I’ve seen out there. It’s not good.”

Jones, Goodyear’s senior safety director, acknowledged that some workers use that motto but said workers concerned about unsafe conditions are encouraged to speak up.

“I’ve worked in Danville, worked in many factories, so you hear that, but again, every worker has the right to stop the process,” he said.

Pressure to keep up production was intense, however, according to James Goggins, who worked at the Danville plant for more than 20 years before retiring in 2014.

Officials from Goodyear’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio, “would call down to Danville all the time, and all they would do is check the numbers,” Goggins said. “They were more interested in making the production numbers.”

Goggins and other former Goodyear workers in Danville recalled how water leaked through the roof and gushed through manholes when it rained. Workers are trained to avoid moisture in the production process because it can prompt tire treads to separate, causing a blowout.

“You can look down and see that water is shooting up from the floor like fire hydrants and flooding the department,” Goggins said.

When it rained, workers said they would call maintenance crews to drape tarps over the equipment, draining the water into dumpsters.

“If there is a roof leak in a facility – and I’m not going to say we don’t have roof leaks in a facility – that local management team will put a process in place to fix the roof leak,” Jones said. “There are also processes in place, safety systems in place, to make sure people are not in a hazardous situation.”

That claim means nothing to Gerri Hall, who visits his daughter’s grave every Sunday morning.

“Goodyear doesn’t care about life. They just want to make that money and let their CEOs get their big bonuses. Let’s just throw out as many tires as we can.” 


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Local Singer-Songwriter David Curtis Releases New Music Video

Posted By on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 9:39 AM

DAVIDCURTISBAND.COM
  • Davidcurtisband.com
A Cleveland native, singer-songwriter David Curtis received his first acoustic guitar as a Christmas present when he was 14. The guy’s been writing songs ever since.

Two years ago, he released his debut, It Is What It Is, an album of pop rock and alternative tunes. He followed it up last year with another full-length.

Now, Curtis has just released a new music video for the ZZ Top-like tune “Don’t Wanna Know Your Name.” The song will be on his forthcoming album, Precious Memory.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

5 Reasons Boy Bands Still Matter in This Twisted World

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 5:01 PM

BEFORE: 98 Degrees' first Christmas album cover in 1999.
  • BEFORE: 98 Degrees' first Christmas album cover in 1999.
Cleveland still loves boy bands, as seen with the parade of nostalgia-heavy acts rolling though the city all year long (and mostly selling well). Bands like Hanson, Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block have already performed, and tonight, Ohio's own 98 Degrees takes to the Hard Rock Rocksino stage.

Armed with a slew of new holiday songs and old hits that the fans would riot if they didn't hear, the guys are ready to prove they still got what it takes. But what makes these (mostly has-been) heartthrobs and their ilk relevant in 2017? We've compiled a list of reasons boy bands continue to fuel the fire of fans’ adoration, including with tours to Cleveland:

1. Screaming is cathartic.
When the Beatles hit America in the 1960s, fans lost their minds weeping, screaming and fainting. And anytime a group of semi-handsome young men come to town to sing, dance and tear out hearts, that practice has continued.

"It was so loud and so overbearing that you couldn't really hear what you were doing," 98 Degrees' Jeff Timmons, originally from Massillon, recounted to Scene back in 2003 of his time doing stadium tours.

That's a lot of screaming.

But there's something about getting together with a bunch of like-minded music fans to watch a bunch of men dance and croon about on stage. Here, it's acceptable to scream. It's almost like screaming is the only natural chemical reaction imaginable. Which gets us to the next point:

2. Boy bands make you feel things, deep down.
Last year, British GQ actually received death threats from One Direction fans who perceived the magazine as being too harsh on their favorite band. And while that's clearly taking it too far, it shows just how deep fan adoration runs.

Certainly, these sorts of acts have always attracted a bevy of haters, but Daniel Goldmark, professor of music at Case Western Reserve University and director for the Center for Popular Music Studies, admits there's nothing wrong with liking these sort of bands in a healthy way.

"I don’t see any problem with it, if people enjoy it. The boy bands are not doing anything that other groups out there are not also doing," says Goldmark over the phone last week. "You need to take it for what it is. You’re allowing yourself to be entertained, maybe you’re reliving a better time. Of course, we remember the good things and block out the bad things. So you’re enjoying a time that’s entirely self-constructed, and that’s great. You escape."

3. There's not anything actually wrong with their music.

Sure, the tunes are syrupy and poppy. Many of them are bad. But get a crew together like Hanson, who could write and play, or NSYNC, who could harmonize for days and had Justin Timberlake, and it's a lot harder to argue that this music sucks entirely.

Case and point: take a listen below and you'll be singing this tune all night.

4. Boy bands are mostly inclusive.

"People love boy bands because you can relate to at least one member," Backstreet Boy Nick Carter told CNN this summer. "Boy bands give people the right to be able to choose who their favorites are and who they can relate to. Everyone can find someone that they can call their own."

That's right, whether you're sporty, posh, baby or scary, with boy bands, there's someone for everyone.

5. Boy bands were made to sing Christmas music.
Christmas music is its own genre of schmaltzy, feel-good fodder. So combining boy bands with holiday tunes makes magic. Many bands find its a way to still stay relevant — check out 98 Degrees' new album Let it Snow right here.

But the best part about these ridiculous albums is that every year during the holiday season, you can dust them off, play and reminisce. About the good times, about the bad. These guys were so young back then, but so were you. 
AFTER: 98 Degrees' 2017 Christmas album cover.
  • AFTER: 98 Degrees' 2017 Christmas album cover.

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No Conga Beat Unsung, No Dancing Spin Un-spun in "On Your Feet" at Playhouse Square

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 4:40 PM

COURTESY PLAYHOUSE SQUARE
  • Courtesy Playhouse Square

Is it ever proper to set your critical thinking aside and just immerse yourself in a show for the sheer pleasure of it? After all, every show that raises its curtain doesn’t have to carry a big message or leave you with indelible characters, does it?

These are the thoughts that go through one’s mind when encountering the colorful wave of music and dancing in On Your Feet, the Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical. And just like that subtitle, this show is bracingly direct and no-nonsense. It wants to be liked—no, loved—by the audience, and it leaves no conga beat unsung and no dancing spin un-spun to achieve that goal.

As you probably know, Gloria Estefan is the Cuban-American singer and songwriter who, along with her hubby and business partner Emilio, put together the incredibly successful group called The Miami Sound Machine. And a machine it was, from the mid-1970s and through the 80s, churning out songs with irrepressible beats such as “Conga,” “Dr. Beat,” and the sizzling “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.”

Of course, this isn’t a concert, there’s a story to tell. And similar to a basketful of puppies, the book by Alexander Dinelaris is adorable and not challenging in any way. Oh sure, there are some formula setbacks when a couple producers don’t immediately cotton to the Estefan brand. Will the Cuban radio station disc jockeys in Miami ever play their music, since it’s in English? Will the English-speaking stations play Latin tunes? Not to worry, we know those objections will soon be washed away on the tsunami of songs and dances to come.

One of the more appealing segments of the story is when we see Gloria and Emilio trying to get a foothold in the music business by playing at any venues they can scare up. This means they’re doing their thing at weddings, Shriners conventions and Bar Mitzvahs—anywhere they could go to get exposure for their infectious musical hybrid involving thumping guitars and loads of Latin rhythms.

From the personal perspective, the show doesn’t delve too deeply into Gloria’s relationship with Estefan. No traumas here since they begin in love and just continue to love each other. However, Gloria E. does have a falling out with her mother Gloria Fajardo, who suffers from some envy since her budding singing career (she was once considered to be the Hispanic voice for Shirley Temple) years before never came to fruition. As Gloria, Nancy Ticotin delivers a powerful sense of what might have been in a singing flashback to her glory days.

However, young Gloria’s grandma Consuelo (a warm and amusing Alma Cuervo) keeps pushing for her granddaughter to be a star and eventually, well, you know what happens. The one big wrinkle in this otherwise happy journey is when Gloria is seriously injured in a highway accident. But after emergency, and very risky, spinal surgery Gloria is reunited with her mother and all is well.

This engaging production directed by Jerry Mitchell features spectacular choreography by Sergio Trujillo, which is performed with unstinting enthusiasm by the talented ensemble. And one young performer, Kevin Tellez (rotating with Jordan Vergara), is a nonstop dynamo, dancing up a storm in a couple different roles.

As Gloria Estefan, Christie Prades does everything necessary to convey the essence of this woman, who is basically a shy person with a gift she couldn’t hide. She is matched by Mauricio Martinez as Emilio, who exhibits a nice understated manner with his more amusing lines. When their music is accepted with verve in Sweden, Emilio is stunned by all those white people dancing: “It looked like Q-tips bouncing all over!”

More than 25 songs from the Estefan song catalog are trotted out, and the beat never slows since David Rockwell’s scenic design moves tall panels of shuttered windows and other elements around with as much grace as the dancers. With the dialog butted up against compelling orchestrations, there’s a propulsion to the show that keeps it moving even when the story line is not particularly gripping.

At times, the script gives a little too much self-conscious homage to Emilio’s business chops. When he holds out for a multi-million dollar contract for Gloria, a pal tells Emilio, “How do you sit down with balls that size?” And the multitude of encouraging letters that fans sent to Gloria during her long recuperation from the accident, some of which are read out loud, border on the treacly. But most of the time, the script doesn’t intrude and get in the way of the music.

Perhaps the most telling moment in the show is when Emilio references his Latino community and says, “This is what America looks like.” Indeed it does, and that’s one message that still needs to be delivered to one particular house in Washington DC.

On Your Feet
Through December 23 at Playhouse Square, Connor Palace, 1615 Euclid Ave. 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.com.
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