0 9 min 8 mths

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces the full company of Eduardo Machado’s (Havana Is WaitingThe Cook) Celia and Fidel. It’s 1980 and Cuba is dealing with a failing economy. As Fidel Castro ponders on how to move his country forward, his political partner, Celia Sánchez, is never far from his side. Imbued with magical realism, Celia and Fidel is the dynamic story of radical change in Cuba featuring the country’s most notorious political figure and Cuba’s most influential female revolutionary.

Before suspending performances for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, Celia and Fidel premiered for 11 previews and its opening night but was forced to cancel performances due to the pandemic. Directed by Molly SmithCelia and Fidel runs October 8 through November 21, 2021, in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle.  Press night for Celia and Fidel will be held on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

“When we opened and closed on March 13, 2020, I could not imagine that a year and a half later we would be back in rehearsal,” shares Machado. “In that year and a half, I was able to think about the play, and with the support of Arena Stage, Molly Smith, Jocelyn Clarke, the generosity of Drs. Elliot and Lily Gardner Feldman who commissioned the play and of course our wonderful cast, I have been able to fine tune the play. I am now confident that the play is expressing exactly what I intended to say. I am thrilled that in less than a month we will be sharing it with a live audience. I can’t wait to hear their laughter and tears.”

The cast of Celia and Fidel includes Marian Licha (Arena’s Anna in the Tropics, Destiny of Desire) as Celia Sánchez, Andhy Mendez (Folger’s Davenant’s Macbeth, Timon of Athens) as Fidel Castro, Liam Torres (INTAR’s Locusts Have No King) as Manolo Ruiz and Heather Velazquez (Lincoln Center’s Pipeline) as Consuelo.

“The story of Cuba is a story of power, and recently the Cuban people have again taken to the streets to protect their freedoms. Eduardo Machado’s passionate Celia and Fidel is a story of influence and passion,” explains Artistic Director Molly Smith. “As America saw a shift in power earlier this year, this is a fascinating time to observe dictators and reflect on their impact on modern society, particularly from a Cuban perspective. Celia Sánchez was the Mother of the Revolution. This play speaks to the current moment now as Cuba wrestles with freedom and authoritarianism, possibly loosening the grip that the Castro family and others have held with the Cuban people.”

Celia and Fidel is the seventh commissioned production to debut as part of Arena Stage’s Power Plays, an ambitious initiative commissioning and developing 25 new plays and musicals from 25 writers over the course of 10 years. With Power Plays, Arena Stage focuses Washington, D.C.’s unique theatrical voice on politics, power and ideas of America, amplifying the theater’s role as a national center dedicated to American voices and artists, located in the heart of the nation’s capital. The massive undertaking features one story per decade, beginning with 1776 through present day, and builds on the tremendous success of previous Arena Stage commissions and Power Plays, including Aaron Posner’s JQA, Lawrence Wright’s Camp David, John Strand’s The Originalist and Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty.

For full company biographies, please visit arenastage.org/tickets/2021-22-season/celia-and-fidel.

Celia and Fidel is generously commissioned by Drs. Elliot and Lily Gardner Feldman and BakerHostetler LLP as part of Arena Stage’s Insider Voices Power Play Cycle. Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Celia and Fidel is a fictional play inspired by historic events.


Celia and Fidel

Written by Eduardo Machado

Directed by Molly Smith

In the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle | October 8 – November 21, 2021

ABOUT: It’s 1980s Cuba and the revolution has reached a crazed tipping point. Fueled by a stagnant economy, 10,000 citizens have fled to the Peruvian Embassy in Cuba seeking asylum. As Fidel Castro grapples between his desire to maintain power and do what is best for his country, he turns to his closest confidant and political partner, Celia Sánchez for answers. What kind of a leader is he? Merciful or mighty? Imbued with magical realism, Eduardo Machado’s Celia and Fidel — Arena Stage’s seventh Power Play — imagines a fight between Cuba’s most influential female revolutionary and its most notorious political leader.


TICKETS: Tickets for Celia and Fidel are $40-95, subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. For information on savings programs such as pay-your-age tickets, student discounts, Southwest Nights and hero’s discounts, visit arenastage.org/tickets/savings-programs.

Tickets may be purchased online at arenastage.org, by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth Street, SW, D.C. The Sales Office is open Tuesday – Sunday, 12:00-8:00 for phone purchases and beginning 90 minutes prior to each performance until curtain for in person purchases. Please note that proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and photo identification must be shown to enter the building.


Sales Office/Subscriptions: 202-488-3300

Group Sales Hotline for 10+ Tickets: 202-488-4380

TTY for deaf patrons: 202-484-0247

Info for patrons with disabilities: 202-488-3300



Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m.
Weekday matinees at noon on Wednesday, October 27, Wednesday, November 3 and Tuesday, November 9.

Open-captioned performance: November 11 at 8 p.m. and November 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Audio-described performance: October 23 at 2 p.m.

Southwest Night: November 18, 2021 at 8 p.m.

Full Calendar: arenastage.org/tickets/calendar

STAY SAFE: Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and photo identification must be shown to enter the building. Arena Stage is requiring that patrons, staff and volunteers wear facial masks inside the Mead Center regardless of vaccination status. Enhanced cleaning and sanitization will take place throughout the building. For superior air quality, we have upgraded our ventilation/filtration systems and have implemented a full digital ticketing system that will include contactless ticket scanning and digital programs. These conditions are subject to change. For the latest information, visit arenastage.org/staysafe.

METRO: Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is only one block from the Waterfront-SEU Metro station (Green Line). When exiting the station, walk west on M Street toward Sixth Street, and the main entrance to the Mead Center is on the right.

PARKING: Parking is available in Arena Stage’s on-site garage. Subscribers may purchase parking in advance for $18. Single ticket buyers may purchase parking in advance for $25 or on the day of the performance for $27 on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited handicapped parking is available by reservation. Advanced parking must be reserved by calling 202-488-3300. The entrance to the Mead Center garage is on Maine Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, and the garage closes one hour after the day’s last performance ends. Patrons can also park at the Public Parking Garage at 1101 Fourth Street, one block from the Mead Center, for $18 when pre-purchased and $22 on the day of the performance.

VALET PARKING: Arena Stage offers valet service at no additional cost to patrons with accessibility needs who call 202-488-3300 in advance to request valet parking. On days when valet parking is being used for accessibility, it is also available to general patrons one hour prior to show time for $30, based on availability. To use valet parking, pull up to the main entrance on Sixth Street.

For complete 2021/22 Season details, visit: arenastage.org/tickets/2122-subscriptions.