From the insides of Habana, in 1925, a black Cinderella is born filled with flavor, talent and transcendence... Daughter of a humble family, she came to this world with the blessing of the Gods and a lucky star that would be with her throughout her life, despite its ups and downs. Her talent, voice and charm transformed her from being a poor, skinny and ugly black girl to the Latin America´s most beloved and successful musical artist around the world. In an age where female singers were classified as tramps, Celia made her way through, beating prejudices and crowning herself... as the most important lead singer of the famous orchestra: “La Sonora Matancera”. What seemed to be the way out to a successful career and the solution of poverty and misery, all thanks to music; almost crumble because of a Cuba falling gradually in the strictest military dictatorship, which threatened to bring downCelia´s dreams. Now she not only had to face the whims of an industry run by men but also the harassment, mistreatment and injustice of a system that she never accepted. Feeling her musical momentum vanished and passing a hard time with her family, she receives an invitation, in 1961, to leave the country with the band, without knowing that it would not be temporary but for the rest of her life. Since that trip, Celia would never come back to Cuba again which means leaving her loved ones behind, including her mother suffering from cancer, for exilingin Mexican lands. Beside her at the time was a musician from the band “La Sonora Matancera”, who gradually grew in her heart and became eventually the undisputed love of her life. It was the famous womanizer Pedro Knight, who by the time he showed up in Celia´s life already had 2 recognized daughters and was an unstoppable flirtatious, including among his conquest Celia´s sister, Noris, who by the way stayed behind in Cuba like all of Celia´s close friends and family. However, love is stronger and Celia falls at Pedro´s feet, loving him madly and realizing that close to him she will finds happiness and the strength to conquer the world. Celia´s talent and commitment proved to be stronger than her problems: the Cuban revolution that pursues her, the disagreements with Pedro, her parent’s deaths and the eternal forced exile she had to live with. Her name and charm reached Tito Puente and then Johnny Pacheco, who in those days was bringing together “La Fania All Stars” in the city of New York. A group of the best Salsa musicians in the land, where Celia would be the most valued jewel, and along them, “la Guarachera”, conquered every soul who attended her concerts and every person that bought her records. At the same time, her best friend in Cuba, the talented singer with an extraordinary voice Lola Calvo, now settled in New York after going through a living hell at her country would become Celia´s great rival. Young Lola would be Celia´s negative counterpart, while having practically the same talent and opportunities as Celia, she will show that in order to achieve true greatness is needed more than a great voice. Celia´s love for children was infinite. Around the middle of her life and with the big desire of being a mother we will also observe how that obstacle was established in her soul. Destiny never gave her a child of her own; however, a 12 year old boy from her fans club, with time, will be like her lost son, and would give her the opportunity to love him as a mother, despite Pedro´s jealousy and rejection. Although eventually with time he would accept him. When all obstacles seems defeated, Celia would face her last and hardest challenge, her sister Noris will come from Cuba and will witness the luxurious and successful life that Celia lives. She will suffers envy and also an old and unresolved affection for Pedro will be present. This is the story of Celia Cruz, the not so pretty, black, skinny and shy girl, who never stopped singing and carrying an important message of freedom for her people. She never bought into the fame machine, remained always humble and charismatic, and with commitment achieved everything she aimed in life. With her voice she seduced audiences from different languages and she made her own revolution: to make Salsa music the most important Latino music genre in the world, to be remembered in history as that woman, who far away from her home, honored it and showed us there are no impossible dreams.
VICE PRESIDENCY OF PRODUCTION: AMPARO LÓPEZ
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: NELSON MARTINEZ
SCRIPT WRITERS: ANDRÉS SALGADO, PAUL RODRIGUEZ
ASSISTANT PRODUCER: CAROLINA SALAZAR
HEAD OF PRODUCTION: MAURICIO RODRIGUEZ
COORDINATOR OF PRODUCTION: CAROL MARCELA SALAZAR
LOCATIONS PRODUCER: ARMANDO GORDILLO
INVESTIGATION ASSISTANT: MARIA PAULA AFANADOR
COORDINATOR OF POST: CAROLINA PINZÓN
COORDINAOT OF DIRECTION: ALEXANDRA MARIA ROCHA
PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR UNIT 1: JULIÁN TORRES
DIRECTOR UNIT 1: VÍCTOR MALLARINO
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR UNIT 1: ANDRÉS PÉREZ
SCRIPT UNIT 1: ANGÉLICA CADAVID VALENCIA
PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR UNIT 2: ANDRES DUQUE
DIRECTOR UNIT 2: LILIANA BOCANEGRA
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR UNIT 2: FELIPE PAREDES GARCÉS
SCRIPT UNIT 2: MAYRA ALEJANDRA HENAO
ART DIRECTOR: ROSARIO LOZANO
He is the owner and Director of Cuba´s most important orchestra of all times, which he manages with vision, tact and musical sensibility. He has a nose for finding and discovering talent and he is also an expert at negotiating with famous figures to invite them into his orchestra. His biggest pride is having given Celia a chance, even above the pressure he took over favoring an ugly, thin, black girl without appeal.
Beautiful Mexican actress and dancer exiled from her country by a powerful man who considers her his property. She fled to Cuba in search of better horizons and with the hope of escaping her enemy´s claws. She does not want another man in her life, she wants to be valued by her talent and not by her beauty, but there is not a lot of room for her dreams in the island.
He left Cuba in search of a better future in New York and he encountered a city that never gave him a chance. He lived for the day, did not have a destiny and much less goals, but luck knocked on his door when he found Lola in the city and discovered her talent. Her dependence towards him will allow him to decide the future of her career and her life as a singer, to the point of having her lose everything.
He is a millionaire businessman, promoter of Batista´s regime. He is the President for Cuba´s “Traditional Customs of The Habana” where he uses his power to abuse everyone, including his stepdaughter Lola, who is the victim of the worst of his evil doings since she was a child. He hates Celia deeply because she is poor, black and for having earned Lola´s trust and affection and he fights tenaciously to keep them apart. He pretends to buy Lola´s love with material things. He is jealous, possessive and effective in controlling Lola without her knowing. He will not rest until he has her by her side always.
A white man born in a black neighborhood, he shared the customs, manners and values of everyone in the neighborhood. He could seduce whomever he wanted, because of his nature and good looks, but he only had eyes for Celia. When he is rejected by her, once Pedro had come into her life, Alberto becomes a demon who only thinks about avenging his frustration and defeat, and he takes advantage of the offer of the Cuban government to work undercover while pretending to be a successful businessman.
She is a charming “mulata”, with a thin silhouette and a beautiful voice, a woman with a shining future who comes from a family with power and money. More than Celia´s student, she is her friend and confidant. Both are joined by their passion for singing. What seems to be a life of luxury and comfort that brings her close to happiness is just a façade of a young woman who lives in daily pain which she keeps secret because of fear. Lola grows musically, probably with the same or better opportunities that Celia has, but as if she were a negative role model for her friend, Lola heads straight to the abyss.
He is a tough man, forged by his hard work as a coalminer for Cuba´s trains. In his house he wants to be considered just, generous, serious and wise, but to the external world he is fun, and a dancer who knows and enjoys the underground world. In his desire to be seen as a respectful man, he keeps his daughter Celia in a cage that he considers to be a golden cage and constantly manipulates her dreams and expectations.
She is a woman dedicated to her home, to cooking, cleaning and having what little she possesses in a presentable way. Her determination, love and sacrifice towards those she loves identify her. She is not a mother with clear preferences, for her, both Celia and Noris are equally important. She considers them both to be talented and deserving of recognition, but she has to fight with the one that does not live with her to make her understand her infinite love. She has a secret illness which she has given no importance to in order to avoid being a burden to those she loves.
She is Celia´s oldest sister from a previous relationship by her mother. She lives with her aunt Ana in “Pinar del Río” and lives a free life. She dreams of being a famous singer which is why she does not stand the fact that Celia steals being the protagonist from her, within the family as well as in the musical business. She is flirtatious, since she is evidently prettier and more graceful than Celia. But all that external beauty is surpassed by her lack of diplomacy when speaking and the open envy she feels toward her sister. She is a bitter woman who knows how to manipulate and take advantage of people. Even though she met Pedro first, she loses him to Celia, the only woman capable of winning his love and affection.
First trumpet for “La Sonora Matancera” band and the orchestra´s accountant, he is a very handsome black man, with an unnerving stare, who enjoys seducing but not being seduced. His kingdom plummets when he meets Celia, a young woman who destiny throws in his way and his heart until she seduces him. Pedro changes completely once he falls in love, but despite his experience he does not know what to do. However, he intends to show that he is the same cheerful and charming man, but know only devoted to conquering one heart. When Pedro gets what he wants, he becomes the most loving and dedicated man there is, in love and committed to his wife until the end of her days.
She was raised in austere conditions, in a misogynistic world. She spent her youth living by the rules imposed by her father and she was forced to concentrate on her studies while she always desired to be a singer, but she was told that was not a decent occupation. She was never pretentious; she knew she was not pretty but her timid personality contrasted with that secret vigor from knowing that her voice set her apart from the rest. When she discovered her talent she started valuing herself, that those who heard her were delighted and that doors were opened up for her. Thanks to these a brave, strong, ambitious, responsible and resilient Celia is born. Although it hurts to go against her father´s ideas, she stands her own and clear idea against the Cuban Revolution. In romance she is completely naive and innocent, and without ever being kissed, she directs her attention on the wrong man: Pedro Knight, a womanizer who earns her love by being the perfect prince charming. And although with time she discovers her lover´s true face, she continues to defend him with the faith of a woman who knows where she is going and what she wants, because only she, a woman without a lot of physical attributes, but with a huge heart, is able to change Cuba´s most desired man. Near her great love, musical success will come. Her time in “La Sonora Matancera” of Cuba will open the doors for Latin America´s huge music market In New York city, where together with other great artists, she will conquer the heart of not only Latin American people but the whole world, leaving an undeletable imprint as an artist, as a woman and as a Cuban. Celia was born with that success star that will be with her forever.