Much chuntering about the fact that Broadway musicals have returned to Cuba for the first time in 50 years. And whoever it was that put this package together they’ve a very, very, dark sense of humour:
In the play, the setting is New York: the East Village, in the early 1990s, with a bohemian, artistic crowd trying to make ends meet over Christmas.
In real life, the setting is Havana – with a disparate group of actors, trying to put on a musical, to show over the festive period.
Because for the first time in 50 years, a Broadway musical is transferring to the Communist island, and – in a case of life imitating art – a play whose first scene opens on Christmas Eve will raise its curtain on December 24. Rent will then open to entertain crowds of curious Cubans, most of whom will never in their lives have seen a musical on that scale.
“Getting permission to bring the show here was extremely challenging,” said Robert Nederlander Jr – producer of the show, and the third generation of a Broadway dynasty. “It took us well over a year to negotiate.”
Our best guess is that we should congratulate Mr. Nederlander on that sense of humour.
Rent is a story (loosely a story, a collection of songs loosely nailed to a story might be a better description) detailing the travails of various people of interesting sexuality, their struggles with being HIV positive, the threats of becoming so, and how they cannot find secure and decent housing.
To take this to an island that, until recently, would lock up in isolation camps those who were HIV positive, distinctly demonise those of interesting sexuality and where there hasn’t been decent or secure housing since the socialist revolution is, well, it is humorous, isn’t it?
Well done Mr. Nederlander, well done, our caps are raised in admiration. We are left wondering though who, other than you and ourselves, is going to get the joke.