Casting Announced for Mambo Kings - Albita, Justina Machado, and Billy Dee Williams to Star

Producers Daryl Roth and Jordan Roth today announced four stars of their new Broadway-bound musical THE MAMBO KINGS, which begins performances Wednesday, July 20 at the Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway at 53rd Street) following an out-of-town engagement at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre from May 24 through June 19. Opening night on Broadway is Thursday, August 18.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the Academy Award-nominated film, THE MAMBO KINGS chronicles the journey of the Castillo brothers - Nestor and Cesar - from 1950s Havana to the stages of Manhattan's grand and glamorous nightclubs. Pulsing with seductive musical rhythms and sizzling dance, THE MAMBO KINGS is a story of brotherhood and family, fierce loyalties and fiery passions, and the quest for the American dream.

Starring in the role of Cesar Castillo is film and television star Esai Morales, who recently starred on the acclaimed ABC series "NYPD Blue." Morales is well-known for his starring role in the film "La Bamba" as well as many other feature films and television films and series.

Cast as nightclub impresario Fernando Perez is screen legend Billy Dee Williams, returning to Broadway for the first time since starring in August Wilson's Fences. Williams' most famous film appearances include starring opposite Diana Ross in "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Mahogany," playing Lando Calrissian in "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Return of the Jedi," and starring as football player Gale Sayers in the legendary ABC television film "Brian's Song."

Cast as nightclub goddess Evalina Montoya, the evening's story-teller, is Grammy Award-winning Cuban music star ALBITA, playing the role her idol and mentor, the legendary Celia Cruz, played in the film. Albita, who defected to the U.S from her native Cuba in 1993, quickly became one of Miami's hottest performers and has since recorded seven smash albums, receiving four Latin Grammy nominations and winning last year's Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Tropical album.

Cast as Ana Maria is actress JUSTINA MACHADO, who currently stars as Vanessa Diaz on the HBO series "Six Feet Under" (for which she shared in a SAG Award for Best Ensemble) and starred in the films "Torque" and "Final Destination 2."

Casting for the role of Nestor Castillo (brother to Esai Morales' character, Cesar Castillo), as well as additional casting for the musical, will be announced in the coming weeks.

THE MAMBO KINGS has a book by Oscar Hijuelos (based on the novel for which he received the Pulitzer Prize) and Arne Glimcher, music by Carlos Franzetti and lyrics by Arne Glimcher. Direction will be by Mr. Glimcher with choreography by Sergio Trujillo. Scenic design for THE MAMBO KINGS is by Riccardo Hernández, costumes by Ann Roth, lighting by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, and musical direction by Constantine Kitsopoulos.

CAST BIOGRAPHIES

Esai Morales (Cesar Castillo) recently starred as Lt. Tony Rodriguez on ABC's acclaimed "NYPD Blue." Previously he had starring roles on the PBS series "American Family" and Showtime's "Resurrection Blvd." Born to Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, Morales ran away from home at the age of 13 because his mother didn't approve of his dream of being an actor. He entered the High School of Performing Arts while living in a group home as a ward of the state. Shortly after graduating, Morales made his professional stage debut in El Hermano at the Ensemble Studio Theater followed by The Tempest (starring Raul Julia) at the Public Theater. Morales made his Broadway debut opposite Al Pacino in the 1992 production of Salome. Morales made his film debut opposite Sean Penn in "Bad Boys" and soon after starred in "La Bamba," one of the most commercially successful Latin-themed movies of all time. Morales has also starred in the films "My Family/Mi Familia" and "The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca." He will soon be seen starring in the new romantic comedy "Isla Bella."

Billy Dee Williams (Fernando Perez) was born in Harlem and made his stage debut as a young boy opposite Lotte Lenya in The Fireband of Florence, and several years later, his Broadway musical debut in Hallelujah, Baby! After starring on the soap opera "Another World," Williams vaulted to stardom for his Emmy-nominated acclaimed performance as football star Gale Sayers in the beloved ABC television film "Brian's Song," one of the most successful made-for-television films in history. Soon thereafter Williams played opposite Diana Ross in the box-office smash "Lady Sings the Blues" and three years later re-teamed with Ross in "Mahogany." Williams also starred in "The Empire Strikes Back" as Landro Calrissian and reprised that role in "The Return of the Jedi." Among Williams's many notable television credits include "Lonesome Dove," "Dynasty," and the ABC mini-series "The Jacksons," in which he played Berry Gordy. Williams last appeared on Broadway in August Wilson's Fences.

ALBITA (Evalina Montoya) began her career at the age of 15 in her native Cuba, becoming a successful recording artist whose albums made the top ten in many Latin American countries. Known as the Cuban diva, Albita has been thrilling audiences with her Cuban renditions of dance and soul. In 1993, Albita defected to the U.S. and began performing at small venues in Little Havana, where very soon the likes of Quincy Jones, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O'Donnell came to see her shows. Soon thereafter Emilio and Gloria Estefan signed her to their label Crescent Moon, on which in 1995 she released her debut U.S album "No se parece a Nada," which immediately became a smash. Six subsequent albums have built on that success: "Dicen Que" in 1996 (Grammy-nominated); "Campesino Que Amaneces" also in 1996; "Una Mujer Como Yo" in 1997 (Latin Grammy-nominated); "Son" in 2000 (Latin Grammy-nominated); "Heco A Mano" in 2002; and "Albita Llego" in 2004 (Latin Grammy winner as Best Contemporary Tropical album and Billboard Award as Best Tropical Album.) Albita has toured the U.S. Latin America and Spain, consistently selling out her concerts everywhere. www. albitaonline.com.

JUSTINA MACHADO (Ana Maria) was born and raised in Chicago as the eldest of five children in a family of Puerto Rican descent. She has amassed a diverse resume encompassing feature films, television roles, and theater. Currently, she stars as Vanessa Diaz in HBO's critically acclaimed, award-winning series, "Six Feet Under." Machado co-starred opposite Ice Cube in the feature film "Torque," and in the recent "Final Destination 2." Machado's other credits include supporting roles in Steven Soderbergh's groundbreaking film "Full Frontal" and the Nick Cassavetes film "She's So Lovely." On stage, Machado appeared at the Mark Taper Forum in "Blade to the Heat" as well as in their of production of "Black Butterfly."

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