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Miami Through its Spanish Performing Arts Spaces

Lillian Manzor, Author
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Claire Booth Luce's Women and María Julia Casanova's Mujeres

Claire Booth Luce's Women and María Julia Casanova's Mujeres

     María Julia Casanova was a visionary and entrepreneur who imagined theater in Spanish in Miami even before the 1959 wave of immigrants.

Casanova had staged Mujeres, a translation of Claire Boothe Luce’s The Women in Havana in 1958. That staging coincided with the Coconut Grove Playhouse premiere of The Women in 1959. Casanovas had visited Miami and had met Dorothy Engle, The Women’s producer and wife of George Engle who had bought the Coconut Grove Playhouse in 1954. Casanovas had the idea of bringing the Cuban production to Miami and staging it in Spanish with the Coconut Grove Playhouse set. But with the revolution’s nationalization plan, Casanova had to abandon the Hubert de Blanck theater she had built. In a matter of months, her life changed from a successful international producer into a poor exile in Miami. She would have to wait till 1973 to stage Mujeres at the Dade County Auditorium.

(In progress: program and analysis of the 1959 production)
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