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A groundbreaking multimedia theater performance created in an unprecedented collaboration between U.S. and Cuban artists was set to debut Friday in Havana.

La Entrañable Lejania (The Closest Farthest Away) is part of the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, commonly called the Havana Film Festival, one of the island's biggest cultural events. It will have its U.S. debut at Miami Beach's Byron-Carlyle Theater in March.

The complex story of an American man in love with a Cuban woman, The Closest Farthest Away breaks ground artistically, politically and technologically. American actors perform onstage while Cuban cast members are seen on large video screens, embodying the political separation between the two countries.

The show evolved over years of visits to Cuba and interactions with prominent Cuban artists by 30-year-old California composer Sage Lewis and his mostly California-based compatriots.

Entrañable was finally realized with the help of Miami's Ever Chavez, director of FUNDarte, and Beth Boone, artistic and executive director of the Miami Light Project, who specialize in U.S.-Cuba cultural projects. Chavez and Boone connected the creators with official Cuban sponsors and will present Entrañable's U.S. premiere.

The show comes to fruition as cultural exchange between the U.S. and Cuba, closed off during the Bush Administration, has begun to flow again. September saw rock musician Juanes' Concert for Peace draw more than a million people in Havana. Cuba's
Septeto Nacional played in Little Havana last month, and Cuban singer Omara Portuondo is slated to perform at the Fillmore Miami Beach in March.


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