Entertainment

Another Celia Cruz Musical Is Coming To New York And Her Ex-Manager Said This Show Will Be Authentic To Her Story

When the legendary Celia Cruz died at the age of 77 on July 16, 2003, it felt as if we hadn’t honored her enough. The Cuban singer had been celebrated in several ways, including receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987, earning countless awards, and not to mention three doctorates from Yale University, Florida International University, and Miami University. For younger generations, Cruz was like folklore, a mythic woman with a powerful voice that made the world dance. Now, a new celebration of her life awaits for news fans to learn all about the pioneer of Latin music, and for fans that have loved her all of their lives. 

A musical based on the life of Celia Cruz is coming to the Bronx.

Credit: fidelfer2003266 / Instagram

Presented by Goya Foods, “Celia Cruz – The Musical” will hit the stage at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx. It will be a coming home of sorts because Cruz is buried not that far away at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. The show, however, will only be on stage for one night only: Nov. 16. Click here to get tickets. 

Actress and singer Cuban artist Lucrecia will star in the role, which she premiered in Spain two years ago. 

Credit: lucreciaagua_ / Instagram

Since its debut in Spain, Celia Cruz – The Musical has played in several Latin cities around the world. Now she’s coming to the Bronx! Celia conquered the world with her voice and her huge heart,” Lucrecia said in an interview with Billboard back in August. “She was noble, a woman of the old school. She remembered everyone’s name. You’d meet her once, and she’d be sending you postcards for the rest of her life.”

The show is the brainchild of Omer Pardillo-Cid, Cruz’s manager and executor of her estate.

Credit: jokeryyc / Instagram

The 2-hour show will be done all in Spanish and will feature 30 cast members and 18 costume and wig changes. Impressive! In 2017, Pardillo-Cid spoke at length with El Nuevo Herald about his disappointment with previous portrayals of Cruz’s life, including the series about her that aired on Telemundo and another play — an Off-Broadway show, which also played in New York City in 2007. 

“The series has been very successful, but since it is full of inaccuracies, I decided to produce a show that focused on the story of Celia, a black and poor woman who left Cuba and conquered the world with her voice and her charisma,” Pardillo-Cid said in 2017. One of those inaccuracies portrayed in the play, Pardillo claims, showed “a relationship between Celia and a bearded Fidel Castro army that never existed.”

I saw that 2007 at the New World Stages. Singer Xiomara Laugart Sánchez portrayed Celia Cruz, and I thought she did the role phenomenally. The play was very emotional and powerful, so I, for one, am interested as to how this new show will depict the incomparable Celia Cruz. 

According to the program, the show will feature her biggest musical hits. 

The theater’s website shares a synopsis: “Her life, her music, her legend. A new and original theatrical experience that puts Celia’s music front and center while tracing her life and times. The two-hour multimedia show features Celia’s signature style and biggest musical hits like Quimbara, La Negra Tiene Tumbao, Tu Voz, Bemba Colorá, and La Vida es un Carnaval. This unique experience will showcase the beautiful spirit of Celia Cruz on stage once again!”

Naturally, Celia Cruz fans are rejoicing over the news that another play on the life of Cuban legend is coming to the East Coast. 

Credit: @LizTaylorCastro / Twitter

No better time to visit the Big Apple, am I right? But you better get those tickets first before they sell out. Tickets range between $45-$100 and there are only a few more seats left!

You know everyone in the theater is going to be on their feet all night. 

Credit: @sunflxwerarms / Twitter

I can imagine how electric it’s going to feel in the Bronx that night. 

A dark-skinned Cuban singer is playing a dark-skinned Cuban singer. 

Credit: @Kayke_CaraPeca / Twitter

You can’t get more authentic than that. 

It’s pretty admirable that her former manager is keeping her story alive. 

Credit: @eriveranys / Twitter

She must have really trusted him. 

Hey, Mr. Pardillo-Cid can you make this a nationwide tour, please?

People outside of New York love her too. 

READ: How ‘Guantanamera’ Sung By Celia Cruz Helped Me To Better Understand My Abuelo’s Exile From Cuba

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Selena Gomez Releases New Spanish-Language Single ‘De Una Vez’ and Teases Full Spanish Album: ‘I’m Targeting My Heritage’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Releases New Spanish-Language Single ‘De Una Vez’ and Teases Full Spanish Album: ‘I’m Targeting My Heritage’

Photo via selenagomez/Instagram

Good news, Selenators! Word on the street is that Selena Gomez will soon be dropping her first-ever Spanish language album. The rumors started after Gomez dropped a surprising (and beautiful!) new Spanish-language single, “De Una Vez”.

Soon after the single dropped, rumors of a full Spanish-language studio album began to swirl when murals promoting “De Una Vez” and a yet-unreleased single “Baila Conmigo” popped up across, Mexico.

To make matters even better, Selena already dropped “De Una Vez”‘s music video.

The lush and imaginative video has been garnering praise for its inclusion of Latin American visuals and symbols. Gomez hired Tania Verduzco and Adrian Perez to direct her video–a husband and wife team who hail from Mexico and Spain, respectively and go by the moniker Los Pérez.

Of hiring Spanish speakers to direct her video, Gomez revealed to Vogue online that the decision was intentional. “If I was going to completely immerse myself into a project inspired by Latin culture, I wanted to work with native Spanish speaking creators,” she said.

And indeed, Verduzco and Perez tried to infuse as much Latin spirit into the video’s conception as possible.

“Magical realism has always been part of the Latin culture, whether it be in art or telenovelas,” Gomez told Vogue. “I wanted [to capture] that sense of a supernatural world.”

They accomplished this sense of magical realism by utilizing motifs from Mexican folk art, like Milagro, which is symbolized by the glowing heart that is beating within Gomez’s chest throughout the video.

“We wanted to play with powerful language and images. We designed the heart—we call it the Milagro in Mexican culture—and its light to be a metaphor for the healing throughout the story,” Verduzco told Vogue.

Selena Gomez fans are especially excited about this project because Gomez has long hinted at her desire to release a Spanish-language album.

Back in 2011, Gomez tweeted about her plans to eventually record an entire album in Spanish. “Can’t wait for y’all to hear the Spanish record;) it’s sounding so cool,” she wrote.

She retweeted the sentiment on Thursday with the comment: “I think it will be worth the wait”–which many fans took as confirmation that a full studio album is on its way.

It’s worth noting that Gomez has already dipped her toe into the Latin music scene with 2010’s “Un Año Sin Lluvia” and 2018’s DJ Snake, Ozuna and Cardi B collab, “Taki Taki”.

As for the difficulty of recording songs in a second language, Gomez said that it was a practice that came naturally.

“I actually think I sing better in Spanish. That was something I discovered,” she said in an interview for Apple Music. “It was a lot of work, and look, you cannot mispronounce anything. It is something that needed to be precise, and needed to be respected by the audience I’m going to release this for.”

She continued: “Of course I want everyone to enjoy the music, but I am targeting my fan base. I’m targeting my heritage, and I couldn’t be more excited.”

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Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

Entertainment

Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

Images via Getty

Recently, it was announced that Amazon studios will be producing a movie based on the lives of groundbreaking Old Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. According to reports, Nicole Kidman is set to play Ball while Spanish actor Javier Bardem will be playing Arnaz.

Seeing as Arnaz is widely viewed as one of the first Latino actors to achieve mainstream success in the United States, this news was positive for many. But for others, the news was less than ideal.

Some critics are lambasting the decision to cast Bardem as Arnaz, seeing that Bardem was born and raised in Spain, and is therefore not Latino.

One disgruntled Twitter user wrote: “I guess it’s really hard to find a Cuban actor so you have to hire a Spaniard…Whitewashing can happen to Latinos too.”

The criticism around Hollywood relying on Spanish actors and actresses to play Latino roles is not a new one. For years, Spanish actors like Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, and Paz Vega have played Latino characters in American movies. The preponderance of this phenomenon have led some people to accuse Hollywood of “white washing” Latino characters by casting Spanish actors.

Antonio Banderas is one of the most famous examples of a Spanish actor who built his career off of playing Latinos.

He has played Latinos for so long that many people think he is, in fact, Latino. But when he was erroneously called a “person of color” by American publications when he was nominated for an Oscar in 2020, there was quiet the outcry in Spain.

Spanish publications condemned American media for having an “absurd obsession” with race, and not understanding that Spaniards are, in fact, white.

Publications wrote arguments like: “Banderas might pass as a Latino ‘person of color,’ to an Arkansas farmer, great-grandson of Germans, but never to a California delivery man born to Guatemalan immigrants.”

To some observers, it seems that Hollywood prefers casting Europeans as Latinos because Hollywood sees Europe as more “sophisticated” than Latinidad.

25-year-old Spaniard Juan Pedro Sánchez, summed up the problem on Twitter, saying: “A lot of people in Spain are bothered if others confuse them for Latin American because Spaniards see Latinos as people of color, and they don’t want to be associated with that.”

He went on to say: “What bothers me is not being considered a person of color, but that people ignore that Spain was a colonizer country. It erases that history.”

The bottom line is, fans are frustrated that Hollywood keeps looking to European actors to cast Latin American characters.

Study after study shows that there is still a stubborn lack of representation for Latinos onscreen. And when there is finally a role that puts a Latino character front and center, Hollywood prefers to hire a European actor over a Latino one.

Javier Bardem is an exceptionally talented actor and there’s no doubt that he will tackle the role of Desi Arnaz with creativity and dedication–but fans’ frustrations at the casting choice doesn’t have to do with Bardem’s acting capabilities. It has to do with the all of the ways that Latinos are discounted–including professionally.

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