MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Amparo Experience first begins from the outside as guests enter a home in downtown Miami.

“This is a historic two story villa in Miami that we’ve taken from top to bottom to transform you into 1957-58 Cuba. A complete remodel of the entire place,” said Set and Art Director Joe Rawda.

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The Amparo Experience is on through the end of May 2019. (Source: CBS4)

From the minute you arrive, the show is on as you are greeted by a character named Jorge, the brand ambassador of Havana Club Rum.

“They tried to erase, but people can’t be erased and story always survives,” said “Jorge” in character.

It’s an immersive theatrical journey based on the riveting, true story of an immigrant family’s triumph through exile.

Vanessa Garcia is the show’s playwright. Victoria Collado directs.

“The Amparo experience is the story of the Arechabala family who created Havana Club, who the Cuban government stole their company from and it’s the story of their struggle and all of their hopes to bring  their story out into the  world, “ said Vanessa.

“You are the show. The show can only happen if you’re here. You (the audience) get assigned roles. You get to pick route to watch the show.  Everybody gets the full story, but you get to see from different perspectives on how this story happened and how the Cuban revolution happened,” said Vanessa.

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For an hour and a half the audiences travels with the cast, which features 23 actors, four musicians and two dancers. They are split up into the different scenes. Room by room, the audience learns more, beginning from 1957 Cuba to present day Miami.

“It’s is not just a story, you’re not going to sit down and watch. You’re going to walk through it,” said Vanessa.

And it’s all centered around the story of the rum.

“We’ve integrated rum into the experience, so as your going through the play, your tasting the rum of the time. You’re drinking Havana Club in Cuba which was the drink of the time,” said Victoria.

The creators promise the spirit of Amaparo will resonate not only with Cubans, but with anyone who has ever loved and lost.

“I hope they will leave with hope and the people who are not Cuban will learn something about the story and connect it to themselves,” Vanessa said.

On display at the bar is one of the last bottles of the original Havana Club ever.

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The Amparo Experience is on now through the end of May. For more info visit

Lisa Petrillo