Once upon a time, a girl learned to sing before she could talk. Her name was Celia. She began singing to her siblings and cousins at bedtime, but a voice like that needed to be shared. Everywhere she went, she sang. She sang when she was in pain and she sang when she felt incredible joy—shouting an exuberant “¡Azúcar!” to her adoring fans. In glittering gowns and extravagant, ruffled ensembles, Celia filled the airwaves with her unique sound. Her talent earned her the name “The Queen of Salsa” as she spread Cuban music throughout the world.
About the Narrator:
A talented and versatile actress, Justina Machado continues to endear audiences and earn critical acclaim with each new role.
Machado can currently be seen starring as the lead in Netflix’s highly-reviewed reimagining of Norman Lear’s ONE DAY AT A TIME opposite Rita Moreno. The series follows three generations of a Cuban-American family living under one roof. Machado stars as Penelope, a newly-single war veteran, raising her two children with the help of her mother (Moreno). Machado appeared opposite Gina Rodriguez in the fourth season of the CW comedy series, JANE THE VIRGIN, and voiced the character Carmen in Disney’s animated series, ELENA OF AVALOR.
Machado is perhaps most well known for her role as “Vanessa Diaz” in HBO’s SIX FEET UNDER, which ended its five-season run in 2005 with an impressive accumulation of award nominations and wins including a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
On the big screen, Machado has been seen in THE PURGE: ANARCHY, which was released by Universal in 2014. Additional film credits include THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND opposite Uma Thurman, Bernard Tevenier’s IN THE ELECTRIC MIST opposite Tommy Lee Jones, and the independent film PEDRO, which debuted at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.
Her television credits include QUEEN OF THE SOUTH, GREY’S ANATOMY, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, PRIVATE PRACTICE, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, DEVIOUS MAIDS, SWITCHED AT BIRTH, THE FOSTERS, and MURDER POLICE.
On the stage, Machado made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning Best Musical IN THE HEIGHTS at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, as well as the world premiere production of A FREE MAN OF COLOR directed by George Wolfe at the Lincoln Center Theater. Machado also starred opposite Marc Feuerstein in Neil Labutte’s SOME GIRLS at the Geffen Theater.
Born and raised in Chicago as the eldest of five children in a family of Puerto Rican descent, Machado started acting upon graduating from high school. Her stellar performances on stage at the Latino Chicago Theater paved the way for her now burgeoning career.
This episode of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is produced by Elena Favilli, Joy Fowlkes, and Meg Murnane, with writing by Tori Telfer and narration by Justina Machado. Jestine Ware edited all scripts and Janice Weaver fact-checked all scripts. Sound design and original theme music by Elettra Bargiacchi. Mattia Marcelli was the sound mixer. Special thanks to Clio McClure who coordinated all credit recordings and narrator donations.
Sponsored by: www.rebelgirls.co
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Celia Cruz: At the Top of Salsa by John Pareles (New York Times)
Celia Cruz, Petite Powerhouse of Latin Music, Dies at 77 by John Pareles (New York Times)
Amid the Gravestones, a Final Love Song by Emily Brady (New York Times)
Celia Eterna by Achy Obejas (Chicago Tribune)
Celia Cruz: The Voice From Havana (NPR)
Celia Cruz's “Son Con Guaguancó” And The Bridge To Fame In Exile (NPR)
Celia Cruz's Manager on What Fidel Castro's Death Would Mean to Her: Exclusive by Omer Pardillo Cid (Billboard)
All Havana Broke Loose: An Oral History of Tropicana by Jean Stein (Vanity Fair)
An El Nuevo Herald photographer’s tale: My moment with Celia Cruz BY C.M. Guerrero (The Miami Herald)
Una leyenda para toda la vida (The Orlando Sentinel)
Pedro Knight by Sue Steward (The Guardian)