Cuba to stage 'Rent' - first Broadway musical in more than 50 years

Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:12pm EST
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By Daniel Trotta

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba will stage its first Broadway musical in more than 50 years when "Rent" starts a three-month run on Dec. 24, producers said on Monday.

The Nederlander entertainment group finally succeeded after trying for several years to produce a Broadway musical in Cuba, a spokesman for Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment said.

U.S.-produced musicals were disallowed in Cuba after the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power.

Although a workshop production of "Carmen Jones" was staged in Cuba in June, this Spanish-language production of "Rent" will be the first Broadway musical with a full cast, musicians and production elements in Cuba in over 50 years, spokesman Keith Sherman said.

In 2011, Nederlander produced a concert based on Broadway show tunes in Cuba. Then, Cuba's Culture Ministry invited Nederlander to stage a full Broadway musical.

Sherman called it an "arts-based" production rather than a profit-making venture, saying low-priced tickets would fail to cover costs.

Nederlander, one of the biggest theater and music venue operators and producers in the United States, is producing "Rent" in conjunction with Cuba's National Council of Performing Arts at Havana's Bertolt Brecht Theater with a company of 15 Cuban actors.

It will be directed by Andy Señor Jr., a Cuban-American who starred in the show on Broadway, playing the role of Angel. He later served as a protege of original "Rent" director Michael Greif and directed several traveling productions of the show around the world.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Gunna Dickson)