A New Celia Cruz Musical Debuts in NYC

The life story of Celia Cruz is coming to the stage in New York in a two-hour musical debuting Nov

Photo: Wikimedia/Ibrahim Arce (Narcy Studios photographer), most likely

Photo: Wikimedia/Ibrahim Arce (Narcy Studios photographer), most likely

The life story of Celia Cruz is coming to the stage in New York in a two-hour musical debuting Nov. 16 starring Cuban singer Lucrecia and performed completely in Spanish.

The story unfolds through flashbacks of significant moments and songs in her life with monologues performed by Lucrecia, 52, explaining the importance of each moment. it also recreates her final concert  before her death in 2003 at age 77.

The Reina de Salsa’s famous ensembles will be front and center with 18 wardrobe changes with dress and wigs created to replicate Cruz’s style.  Of course some of her biggest hits including “Quimbara,” “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” “Tu Voz,” “Bemba Colorá” and “La Vida Es un Carnaval” are also part of the show.

My admiration, respect and love for Celia runs very deep,” Lucrecia told Billboard. “I do the show with love, without any sense of rivalry or trying to take her place. I come out on stage to bring her alive.”

Lucrecia rose to fame as the lead vocalist and pianist with the all-women Cuban band La Orquesta Anacaona and then in 1993, she relocated to Barcelona and formed her own group. She was nominated for a Latin Grammy for Álbum de Cuba released in 2010 and in 2019 she was recognized as the Best Latin American Children’s Movie Actress and Best Children’s Music Singer at the Premios Latino for her role as singing host of the children’s television series “Los Lunnis.”

She met Cruz in 1998 when they performed together at an event in Marbella, Spain and remained friends until her death. Billboard reports Cruz called Lucrecia her successor and for her part, Lucrecia honored Cruz with an original song entitled “Agua con Azucar y Ron.”

”I want more women in salsa,” Cruz told the New York Times in 1985. ” Someday, I have to die, and I want people to say, ‘Celia Cruz has died, but here is someone who can take over.’ ”

Celia Cruz – The Musical will take place at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx and tickets range from $45-$100. The musical has already premiered in Miami and Spain and it was written and directed by Gonzalo Rodríguez and Jeffry Batista, with Omer Pardillo-Cid, the executor of the Celia Cruz Estate, as executive producer.

Pardillo described Cruz as “a black woman, who was poor, who left Cuba and conquered the world,” becoming “the Lady Gaga of her time,” Billboard reports.

Cruz remains an icon who made an undeniable impact in the music world and her life story has been told in various mediums including an 80-episode special series on Telemundo starring Cuban singer Aymée in 2015.

She would’ve been 94 on Oct. 21 and its through her music, her famous phrase “Azúcar!” and her larger than life personality that her legacy lives on.

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