Celia Cruz the undisputed Queen of Salsa comes to life in the most anticipated bio-telenovela set to air this Tuesday October 13th on NBC Universal’s Spanish network Telemundo.
The series about the internationally renowned musical icon is produced, written and directed by a Colombian production company under the direction of actor and director Victor Mallarino and Liliana Bocanegra with a script written by Paul Rodriguez and Andres Salgado who previously wrote the hit series “El Joe La Leyenda” based on the life of Joe Arroyo one of Colombia’s most iconic singers.
The Celia Cruz series is made up of 80 one-hour episodes, which chronicles Cruz’s life from her humble beginnings in Cuba to the rise and fame of one of the world’s most recognized salsa singers.
Filming locations in Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico were turned into 1950s Havana, Cuba where Cruz grew up and became the lead vocalist for Cuba’s famed salsa group “La Sonora Matancera”.
Two South Florida actresses were chosen play Cruz at two different stages of her life.
Playing Cruz during her 20s and 40s is South Beach resident actress and singer (originally from Puerto Rico) Jeimy Osorio who has starred in “Fast and Furious 5” and several telenovelas among them “Una Maid in Manhattan”
Osorio says taking on the role of Celia Cruz is a big responsibility but she is extremely happy for the opportunity.
“I’m more than honored because through her story I represent the Cuban people, the Latin American people and all those who have been oppressed in one way or another due to the color of their skin,” Osorio said.
Bringing Celia Cruz to life during her later years is Cuban actress from Miami Aymée Nuviola whose singing talent has earned her nominations for both the Latin Billboard and Latin Grammy awards.
Nuviola says is a dream come true being able to play one of the biggest musical icons in the Latin culture.
“Playing such an iconic figure has been a challenge but above all it has been an honor, “ Nuviola said.
Puerto Rican actor Modesto Lacén will portray Cruz’s husband Pedro Knight, a role he mastered in the off-Broadway theatre production “The Life and Music of Celia Cruz”, while Cuban actor Willy Denton will portray Pedro Night in the later years.
Dubbed the “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz recorded over 50 albums, won 7 Grammy awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In spite of her tremendous vocal abilities Cruz faced racism and sexism during the start of her career but managed to breakdown all stereotypes of what a black woman musician could achieve in the 1940s and 1950s.
Celia Cruz died after battling brain cancer in 2003 at the age of 77.
You can catch the series starting this Tuesday October 13th at 8pm on NBC South Florida’s sister station Telemundo.