The *epic* 80-episode series originally aired from October 5, 2015 to February 5, 2016 in Colombia on RCN Televisión, as well as on US-based Telemundo from October 13, 2015 until February 8, 2016. It is now available for English-speaking audiences, courtesy of Netflix in the USA.
All 80 episodes (each 45 minutes long) of “Celia,” the Spanish-language telenovela produced by Fox Telecolombia, based on the life of Cuban singer Celia Cruz, are now available to stream on Netflix, with English subtitles! That’s roughly 60 hours of binge-watching time; it’s maybe as thorough a way to tell the story of an entire life on screen as there may have ever been. Typically, it’s a 2+ hour feature film/biopic, or a miniseries comprising of less than 10 episodes. “Celia” attempts to cover as much of the Cuban salsa icon and superstar’s life as comprehensively as possible with a series that tells her story over 3600 minutes!
Directed by Victor Mallarino and Liliana Bocanegra, and scripted by Andrés Salgado, “Celia” stars Puerto Rican actress Jeimarie (Jeimy) Osorio (“Maid in Manhattan,” “Fast Five”) as the legendary Cruz in the series.
Puerto Rican actor Modesto Lacén portrays Cruz’s husband, Pedro Knight. Lacén (“Animal”) has portrayed Knight before in an off-Broadway theater production, “The life and music of Celia Cruz,” which ran for 20 months in New York. The actor has also acted in over 20 films in Puerto Rico and in the U.S.
Carolina Gaitán, Judy Henríquez, Aida Bossa, Abel Rodríguez, Jonathan Islas, Agmeth Scaf, Indira Serrano, Margoth Velázquez and Moisés Angulo round out the key cast.
Known as the “Queen of Salsa,” Celia Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba in 1925. Throughout her prolific career, she recorded over 50 albums, won 7 Grammy awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cruz’s celebrated hits include “La negra tiene tumbao” (“The black woman has rhythm”), “Que le den candela” (“Bring the heat”) and “Quimbara,” to name a few.
The lengthy miniseries chronicles Cruz’s evolution from a teenager in pre-revolution Cuba, to a larger-than-life public figure decades later. Along the way, she battled racism, sexism, and defied expectations of what a black woman musician could achieve in the 1950s.
Celia Cruz passed away at the age of 77 in 2003.
Check out a trailer for the series below, and then head over to Netflix and start binge-watching all 80 episodes:
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images