Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

When you remember Celia Cruz — La Guarachera de Cuba, arguably the most influential woman in Latin music history — you can almost immediately picture her. The bright hair, dynamic fashion, and broad, infectious grin made her look distinctive, to say the least. Her career was long and notable. From her earliest Venezuelan recordings in the late Forties to her memorable appearances as recent as 2002, Celia was vibrant, energetic, warm, funny, and virtually incomparable. How difficult must it have been to find someone who not only resembled the icon but also could stir a crowd with the power of her voice? Those casting the successful New York musical Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz certainly had their work cut out for them. The solution? Choose not one but two people for the role.

In the South Florida premiere of the hit play, Selenis Leyva plays young Celia, Anissa Gathers portrays her as an adult, and famed music director Isidro Infante — who actually performed with Cruz — ties the whole thing together with a seven-piece band. Celia brings the heat and light of La Reina de Salsa to the Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami), and the cast’s performance of the icon’s most notable hits — such as “Guantanamera,” “Químbara,” and “La Bomba” — will thrill viewers who have experienced the real thing, as well those who wish they could have. Tickets cost $50 and $75; a $95 VIP package includes a postperformance meet-and-greet with the cast and an autographed poster.
Wed., June 18, 2008


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