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Havana Nights in Las Vegas, 8/18/04
by Tony Petit

Despite the current lockdown on Cuban musicians coming to the US, a 53 member troupe of musicians and dancers managed to "slip in" to the US in early September and is putting on a series of shows in Las Vegas, where political muscle runs quiet and deep. The press covered their problems getting out of Cuba, but not much about the fact that they made it out and into the US, then of course they went crazy when 44 announced they were defecting in November. Their show consists of a "Tropicana style" cabaret extravaganza and has been held over until January 11, 2005. Despite the defection however, the group does not have a contract after January.

The problems impresarios Siegfried & Roy (of Las Vegas Royal White Tigers fame) encountered probably had a little bit to do with the old guard's memory of the Meyer Lansky 1950's casinos and the insult that presented to Cuban national pride. An eloquent description of the atmosphere of that time can be found in Unmasking a Hypocrite: Prostitution Now and Then! by Alberto Jones, which relates the extensive US Navy related corruption in Guantanamo pre-59.

However, the real reason for the problems may have had more to do with the relentless US effort to get these artists to take a line independent from their government as a condition for getting into the US.

Havana Night Performers On Stage At Stardust

Show Prepares For More Arrivals LAS VEGAS, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The first contingent of the Havana Night Club performers arrived Saturday in Las Vegas and hit the stage of the Stardust. Star dancer Liliam Ferrer Cobas burst onto the stage with a leap and her Latin flair ignited the enthusiasm shown by fellow four troupe members. The remaining show performers are expected to arrive Monday and Tuesday so they will be ready to perform before near-sellout crowds next weekend. Havana Night Club - The Show will be performing through September 6, 2004 at the Stardust Resort and Casino. The performance includes 32 dancers, a 13-piece award-winning Cubaximo band and singers in a unique interactive theatrical production. Saturday, troupe members practiced on stage with Rigoberto "Papin" Saavedra Larrinaga pounding the congas while singer Jose Manuel Primo Matos belted out Cuban ballads. The show evokes the cultural riches of the magnificent island of Cuba by showcasing the rich musical versatility with modern dance in an explosion of energy and originality. Co-producers of the Show, illusionists Siegfried and Roy, Emmy award winning director and choreographer Kenny Ortega and international producer and creative director Nicole "ND" Durr have been instrumental in securing the travel arrangements of the 53 entertainers from Havana to the Las Vegas. For more information, visit the websites http://www.havananightclub.com or http://www.stardustlv.com Tickets for the Havana Night Club - The Show can be purchased at the Stardust Resort and Casino Box Office and by calling 1-866-525-2077.

Links

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www.havananightclub.com/
The show's US web site 

www.vegas.com/searchagent/event/SearchResultView.do?id=10149&vc1=1&vc2=cal_txt_vana

Havana Night Club - The Show

Wayne Newton Theater
The Stardust
3000 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas , NV 89109

Call For Reservations:
(702) 992-7970
(866) 80-SHOWS

Price: $54.95
Show Times: 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday - Tuesday and Thursday
Show Dates: Aug. 12 - Sept. 6, 2004

Review:
A taste of Cuba

Staff Report

With the help of presenters and associate producers Siegfried & Roy, Havana Night Club - The Show brings the cultural riches of Cuba to Las Vegas for a limited engagement at the Stardust.

The show, which features 50 Cuban dancers, musicians and singers, takes audiences on a journey through the nightlife of the capital city, Havana. The show, which has been performed in front of more than 2 million people in 16 countries around the world features a cast of 32 dancers in full costume and a 13-piece award-winning CubaXimo band and singers.

Joining producer, creator and artistic director, Nicole "ND" Durr, is set designer Michael Cotton, who designed the 16 scenes in the interactive theatrical production and Kenny Ortega, an Emmy Award winning director and choreographer.

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