By: Tony Bowles / April 4, 2018
Last night, HAVANA CLUB rum debuted the first-ever showing of “Amparo” in New York at Bill’s Townhouse. Inspired by the true story of the Arechabala family, the “Amparo” immersive theatrical performance portrayed the exile journey faced by the original owners of HAVANA CLUB rum and reaffirmed its longstanding Cuban legacy. Combining education and entertainment, the experience was packed with history, high drama, live music and bespoke cocktails.
Upon arrival, show-goers were treated to an intimate cocktail reception where signature HAVANA CLUB cocktails were served, including the HAVANA Café, Airmail and Guava Daiquiri. Following a lively introduction, guests were divided into groups with skeleton keys meant to lead them to their kindred Cuban spirit. These spirits, or characters, guided attendees through “Amparo” and unpacked their unique perspectives during that controversial time in history
Along the New York iteration of the “Amparo” experience, epicureans encountered pivotal moments in the Arechabala family story that have defined the exiled HAVANA CLUB rum brand. These emotionally charged scenes included Jose Arechabala arriving on Cuban soil for the first time, the shared, tearful moment when forced exile became the only option for the Arechabalas, and concluded with an elderly Ramon Arechabala sharing his heart and soul — his family’s rum — with engaged attendees.
Central to the “Amparo” experience, the audience learned about the events that led up to the Arechabala family’s exile from Cuba, and of Ramon Arechabala, who boldly managed to take his family’s rum recipe with him out of Cuba, despite being stripped of all other worldly possessions. Upon arrival to the United States, Ramon shared that recipe, along with the Arechabala family’s long legacy, with Bacardi to ensure a future for what his family had made and what had been stolen from them. With “Amparo,” Bacardi is honoring that legacy.
The cast, crew, and creative team behind “Amparo” are all deeply rooted in Cuba. The “Amparo” experience is particularly meaningful to them as they have faced similar stories of exile — many of their family members have been political prisoners, have been revolutionaries turned staunch anti-communists, and have carried Cuba with them across continents and generations.
“Amparo” is directed by Victoria Collado, a Cuban-American, who is currently the Assistant Director of John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons on Broadway. The performance is written by playwright, Vanessa Garcia, author of White Light, one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015 and an International Latino Book Award recipient.
This limited engagement run of “Amparo” is the first time private audiences in New York witnessed the true story behind HAVANA CLUB rum. “Amparo” is expected to expand to consumer audiences later this year to continue raising awareness for the Arechabala family and further educating the public on what it means to be “Forever Cuban.”
About Vanessa Garcia
Vanessa Garcia is a writer and mulit-media artist