J.B. Spins sends a review of “Celia: The life of Cuban refugee Celia Cruz.” J.B. adds, “If you’re in New York, I can recommend the Celia Cruz musical now playing Off-Broadway. It does not sugar coat her feelings for the Castro regime at all, and their renditions of her music is definitely spirited.”
To its credit, Celia the musical deals with the realities of the Castro regime and Cruz’s resulting exile directly and forthrightly. The book by Carmen Rivera & Candido Tirado makes it clear there would be no artistic freedom in Cuba after 1959. We see the corruption and arbitrary abuses of power from party bureaucrats and the suffering inflicted on musicians like Cruz and Knight. In one of the musical’s heaviest dramatic episodes, Celia portrays the pain Cruz felt when she was unable to attend her mother’s funeral due to Castro’s banishment decree.
J.B. Spins has much more on this Off-Broadway hit.