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Miami Through its Spanish Performing Arts Spaces

Lillian Manzor, Author
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Hialeah Theater

Hialeah/ Essex Theater was one of the first theaters to present Cuban vernacular shows. Journalist and entrepreneur Charles Seigle, rented it in the early 1960s after it had closed down and was being used by homeless people. He refurbished the theater and started showing movies in Spanish with vernacular shows in the intermission. Cheo Llorens played the "gallego" - Spaniard, and Néstor Cabell the "negrito" in blackface. Norma Zúñiga and Aleida Leal were the female protagonists.

     In this interview (
39:27 - 42:03) for the Luis J. Botifoll Oral History project, Néstor Cabell narrates how the theater started and describes the shows that they staged underscoring how important musicians such as La Lupe, Olga Guillot, and Tomás de San Julián had their first shows in Miami at this theater.

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