The Tropicana Cabaret

The Tropicana Cabaret
The Tropicana Cabaret

A visit to the Tropicana Cabaret in Havana.

While passing through Havana you cannot miss one of the emblematic sites of the city and famous throughout the world the Cabaret Tropicana, a paradise under the stars.

Eight decades of life have not made it lose all the splendor that characterizes it. It is located outdoors in an area full of leafy trees, mango trees, mamoncillo and other fruits that give it a tropical air and an intimate atmosphere.

You can find it at calle 72 No. 4504, e / Ave. 45 and 47, from the municipality of Marianao, Havana. It is the most famous place for recreation and nightlife in Cuba, the largest of the Antilles with capacity for 1000 people.

The menu that it offers to the institution has been formed through a process of surveys of the millions of clients who have visited it over the years. The Los Jardines gourmet restaurant has offers for vegans and vegetarians, fresh vegetables and fruits and flambé in the service and the completion of the dishes in front of customers. It is currently a National Monument of Cuba.

In the city of Santiago de Cuba there is also another cabaret that recreates the outdoor environment with capacity for 1200 people, it is the largest cabaret in Cuba.

There you can find the El Pavo Real Restaurant, a disco and a piano-bar. In this replica of the most famous cabaret in the Caribbean, you can enjoy shows that are closer to the culture of the region.

What can you find at the Cabaret Tropicana?

At the Tropicana cabaret you can enjoy the most authentically Cuban music. The Son, the chachachá, the bolero, the Conga or any of the varied rhythms that accompany a show performed by more than 300 artists that make up a cast of dancers, singers and musicians in a natural environment with palm trees, lights and colors.

In addition to the restaurant, it has the Arcos de Cristal Lounge, a space for rainy days and the Rodney Café, another much more modern space with an atmosphere to enjoy drinks and night time unloading.

The dancers wear see-through stockings and light clothing while displaying feathered and sequined outfits enhancing color and brilliance in a nighttime, outdoor setting, a show repeated and renewed at the same time since its opening.

Of its history

It was the French Regino Du Rapaire Truffin who owned the Villa Mina, a suburban property during the emergence of the Marianao Municipality. His widow, Mina Pérez Chaumont, decided to make changes to the terrain in the late 1930s.

She intended to transform the rest villa into the best night club in Havana because the location of the villa met all the requirements for them. It was a private place with a cozy natural environment and if it could be classified as such, it had an environment that invited lust.

She commissioned the project from businessman Víctor de Correa, who led the project and hired one of the best choreographers and show directors at the time in Cuba: Sergio Orta.

However, it was another person, Martin Fox, the man who immortalized Tropicana as one of the emblematic sites of the country and the region.

The impressive project of the Tropicana cabaret

Martin Fox was a man who dedicated himself to gambling and, according to the Cuban, put his heart into the project. By 1950 he was the sole owner of all the land and the Cabaret Tropicana, so he hired the architect Max Borges for a renovation.

The architect hired with a modernist vision devised the harmonious integration of nature and space, thus with this idea he won the Gold Medal of the National Association of Architects with the project.

Tropicana was also one of the Cuban works that were included in the Latin American Architecture exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955.

Where did the name come from?

One wonders if it was known as Villa Mina why it is called Tropicana cabaret. I invite you to know this important detail. Inaugurated on December 31, 1939, it firstly bore the name Boite de Nuit or Night Dance Hall, however only a year later it changed its name to Tropicana.

It was a suggestion from Sergio Orta, Tropicana’s first choreographer. Sergio took the name of the eponymous work of the Cuban composer and flutist Alfredo Brito that was released in that same place on the day of the inauguration.

They say that the night of Monday, December 30, 1940 was very special for those who attended the opening of the Cabaret Tropicana. A show that lasted until dawn on Tuesday where some of the important stars who passed through the stage were honored, including Nat King Cole and Carmen Miranda.

Photos of Nat King Cole were projected on stage screens as two dancers danced the song Tenderly.

What has made Cabaret Tropicana famous?

The Cabaret Tropicana owes its celebrity not only to the site, its offerings or the renowned shows that are presented there. Partly it is because it was first a luxury attraction that caught the attention of celebrities such as Marlon Brando or Maurice Chevalier, or others who performed there or shared with customers. Thus, advertising allowed Tropicana to become one of the best-known nightclubs in the world.

The Royal Albert Hall in London, Sporting Club de Montecarlo Monaco, Friedrichstadt Palace Berlin and Beacon Theater Broadway, New York have hosted Tropicana performances.

Another important event involving the place was the television broadcast from there of the Mexican television star La movida, broadcast throughout Latin America in 1992.

In that same year, it was awarded the Best of the Best Five Star Diamond award by the North American Academy of the Restaurant Industry.

There the French designer Pierre Balmain’s summer collection was presented in 1954 and later in 1996, the Japanese fashion designer Junko Koshino presented her fashion show at the Salón Bajo las Estrellas, with choreography by the maestro Santiago Alfonso, a moment that challenged the professionalism of the cast of the cabaret.

But there was more.

Cabaret Tropicana has witnessed many important events. Another example is the evening that the Cuban house Habana S.A. offered thirty years after the creation of its renowned Cohíba cigars.
It was also selected by ABC and CNN to broadcast the farewell of the 20th century to everyone.

Cuban and international stars have performed at the Tropicana. Joséphine Baker, Bola de Nieve, Rita Montaner Elena Burke, Libertad Lamarque, Cheo Feliciano and Nat King Cole attended and performed there.

Also Frank Sinatra, Marylin Monroe, Tongolele, Xavier Cugat, Los Chavales de España, Carmen Miranda, Pedro Vargas, Norma Duval, Alejandra Guzmán, Rosita Fornés, Chano Pozo, Celia Cruz, Olga Guillot, Elena Burque, Omara Portuondo, Los Papines, they are other of them.

The presence of these famous people added to the quality of the attention and the beauty of the shows make it one of the most important options in the city and one that you should not miss if you visit Havana.

The art of Rita Longa at El Tropicana

One of the symbols of the Tropicana is its Dancer, a sculptural work by the Cuban artist Rita Longa. This figure represents a dancer who seems to turn and with her everything around her. Over time it has become a symbol of Cuban dance.

It was in 1994 when the eponymous trophy was awarded for the first time, consisting of a smaller-sized replica of the Ballerina, sculpted by Rita Longa and awarded to artistic personalities associated with cabaret.

The Tropicana shows

During the nightlife of the cabaret one of its emblematic reasons is the shows. Among the most famous are Congo Pantera, La viuda alegre, Seis linda cubanas, Almanac, Lecuona Carnival, Tropicana sings and dances for you, Toast to Tropicana and Tropicana: glory is you.

There is also the show “Drums in Concert”, conceived by the experienced maestro Tomás Morales. With the show, he proposes to visit the most recognized and genuine Cuban rhythms. Of course without forgetting the Hispanic and African heritage. Thus it incorporates the rumba, the danzonete and the mambo, as well as Latin jazz.

Costumes and scenery accompanied by choreography accompany a staging full of imagination and realism worthy of applause and ovation.

In this show, the character “echo of the drum” stands out, a mythical character with a face covered by a mask, with his strong movements full of masculinity, represents manhood and supports a song and tribute to the drum, an obligatory element of Cuban culture.

While passing through Havana, the Cabaret Tropicana is an irresistible invitation for enjoyment and recreation. Do not miss the opportunity to get closer to one of the most famous nightlife spaces in the world.

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