Jonathan Larson's beloved musical Rent is headed to Cuba.
Deadspin reports the Spanish-language production will be produced by Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment in partnership with the Cuban National Council of Performing Arts. Nederlander says it's the first Broadway musical with a full cast, musicians and first-class production elements produced in Cuba in over 50 years. The show, which will have a three-month run, will open Christmas Eve, according to Robert Nederlander Jr.
The show's producers said they have been trying for several years to stage a full production in Cuba, which has banned U.S. musicals since Fidel Castro took power in 1959.
Andy Señor Jr., who previously played the role of Angel on Broadway, will direct a company of 15 Cuban actors. He is a protégé of original director Michael Greif, assistant directing the Off-Broadway production and later directing productions of the show around the world.
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After Nederlander Worldwide launched Broadway Ambassadors, a concert featuring classics from the Broadway songbook, at the Havana Theatre Festival in 2011, the Cuban Ministry of Culture invited the group back to do a full Broadway musical that would feature aspiring Cuban actors and musicians.
CEO Bob Nederlander, who has a license from the U.S. government for the show, tells Reuters that Rent was chosen because it was contemporary, youthful and had a relatively simple set. The show made its Broadway debut at the Nederlander Theatre in 1996. It went on to win the Tony for Best Musical, ran for 12 years, and spawned a successful 2005 film adaptation.
A Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama in 1996, Rent was penned by the late Jonathan Larson. Though the New York setting and '90s political and pop culture references might not have a big impact on Cuban audiences, the groundbreaking musical's overarching themes of anti-capitalism, maintaining artistic integrity, and love continue to resonant with theater-goers worldwide.