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Tiempo Libre & Artists Repertory Premiere Cuban-Infused Musical 'Cuba Libre' in Portland

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Oct 09, 2015 01:20 PM EDT

Tiempo Libre may be a group of seven young Cuban musicians but their music will now take a new approach, this time for the Broadway-scale musical Cuba Libre, produced by Artists Repertory Theatre. The production made its premiere in Portland, Oregon and is making a splash all over.

It's been written up as a "bilingual theatre experience - with the majority of the dialogue in English and the music largely in Spanish." The musical was written by Cuban-American playwright Carlos Lacámara, and is an amalgam of individual histories from the members of Tiempo Libre.

The production has ambitions for Broadway, which makes sense as it has a pool of big names in support of the show, including Tony-nominated Susan Dietz and award-winning director Dámaso Rodriguez, as well as Cuban-American choreographer Maija Garcia.

The group itself is a three-time Grammy nominee, too. Since their debut at the Ravinia Festival in the summer of 2002, Tiempo Libre has become a leading figure in Cuban music in the U.S.

Their resume includes performances with the Oregon Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Charlotte Symphony, the Austin Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony.

Of the performance, Oregon Live reported that, "The forward-moving energy of the play comes directly from the creative space that gave it birth and set it in motion. Under the tenure of artistic director Dámaso Rodriguez, Artists Repertory Theatre has become an artistic melting pot, a hub for local theater with robust support for new works, and companies in residence as varied as the Portland Shakespeare Project and Hand2Mouth Theatre, a troupe that collectively writes and performs its own work. "

Coined as "..A dream in the making" by Rodriguez, Tiempo Libre is currently signed to Universal Music Latin Entertainment and should be a name long staying in the Cuban-fusion genre.

They are also quite good friends with a Classicalite favorite, Joshua Bell, who featured the band on his 2009 album At Home with Friends.

If you're in the area be sure to pick up a ticket and check out the show.

In the meantime, however, preview Tiempo Libre and their ambitions below.

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TagsTiempo Libre, Cuba Libre, Cuban

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