For homegrown telenovela star Jencarlos Canela, playing Pepito, a balsero who writes his name in neon across the Magic City, was a natural. I feel very identified with the character who risks his life to come here on a raft to fulfill his dreams, Canela says. We all have a process or a journey as we struggle to make it in the world.
Canela is headlining Miami Libre, the sizzling new bilingual stage musical making its world premiere at the Arsht Center, where the Knight Concert Hall will be transformed into a cabaret setting. The show tells the story of a musician in Cuba who is very rebellious against government oppression and writes witty songs that are statements of liberty, Canela explains. Pepito ends up here, rising from dishwasher to Grammy nominee. The best part of the show is that they are turning the theater into a scene like a night at the Tropigala where people can become part of the production. Everlayn Borges plays Maria, Pepitos love interest. Miamis Grammy-nominated Tiempo Libre delivers the pulse-pounding score, while the set design is inspired by the work of local artist Pablo Cano. Through August 17. Performance times and ticket prices vary.
July 25-Aug. 17, 2008