Award Date

May 2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Theatre Arts

First Committee Member

Nate Bynum

Second Committee Member

Sean Clark

Third Committee Member

Judy Ryerson

Number of Pages

75

Abstract

The Latin Fire Follies was a musical revue that presented Latin culture through the use of the showgirl spectacle, music, dance and costumes. The show ran from 1968 to 1976 at the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas. Creators Manolo Torrente and Freddy Manjón, were artists of international caliber before being forced to leave Cuba when Castro closed the borders in 1959. In 1968, Torrente, a prominent singer and director, and Manjón, an intrepid dancer and choreographer, produced the show with the goal of spreading the joy of Latin culture. The show was a representation of the folklore within the countries they presented: Mexico, Cuba, Brazil and Spain. Though the dancers and performers were mainly of Latin descent, they were in their majority Cuban. Latin Fire was a show of world-class quality that took Las Vegas by storm due to its success and longevity. Since there is no previous scholarly publication on this subject, the collection of information has been obtained through primary sources found in the Special Collections division located at the UNLV Lied Library. This factual research has been aided with ethnographic research in the form of oral interviews conducted with performers Aleida Mustelier, Angela Mesa and Alicia Darias. This thesis will prove Torrente and Manjón were visionary-producers who created and brought Cuban culture to Las Vegas, a feat that had never been done before. It also aims to explain the story of these Cuban performers and how they established a community of people, allowing for the creation of lifelong friendships among the female performers and verified via those interviewed. Latin Fire was instrumental in providing some sense of relief stemming from the struggle of loneliness in dealing with immigration and exile. With Latin Fire showcasing the high-intensity stage performance of Cuban legacy, Torrente and Manjón enabled Cuban and Latin music, dance, and culture to reach the Las Vegas audience.

Keywords

Latin Fire; Manjon; Showgirls; Torrente

Disciplines

Dance | Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History

Language

English

Available for download on Sunday, May 15, 2022


Share

COinS