A Broadway musical opens in Havana for the first time in 50 years

The World
Director Andy Senor Jr. (C) takes part in a rehearsal for the musical "Rent" in Havana November 25, 2014.

Director Andy Senor Jr. (C) takes part in a rehearsal for the musical "Rent" in Havana on November 25, 2014. Cuba will stage its first Broadway musical in more than 50 years when the musical starts a three-month run Friday.


The Tony Award-winning show Rent had a 12-year run on Broadway, and is one of the most successful musicals ever.

Rent has been performed in theaters all over the globe — but until now it had never been shown in Cuba. But tonight, Rent opens in Havana.

It's been a long time since a Broadway show hit the stage in Cuba — more than 50 years. Because of the US embargo.

We don't know for sure what the last Broadway hit in Havana was, but in 1960 biggest Broadway hits were The Sound of Music and Gypsy.

The idea of staging Rent in Cuba has been in the works for months, well before President Barack Obama's surprise announcement last week.

Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg says the timing was fortuitous. "This thing was fully licensed and in production before President Obama announced the normalization of relations. And I think it's part of a larger softening in the mood on both sides of the Florida Straits."

Rosenberg says this production has really been a collaborative effort. "The director comes from Miami, he's Cuban American. And he actually starred in Rent on Broadway and went down there a couple of months ago and hired an all-Cuban, 15-member cast," she explains. "He said musical theater was a lost art there, so he found some great singers who he had to teach to dance. And he found some dancers who could sing."

So it's a new era in more ways then one. And the price of the ticket isn't bad either: Ten pesos or about 50 cents.

Not bad considering seats at a Broadway musical in New York typically go for $125 and up.