Cuban Courage

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Mark Walter Braswell

Cuban Courage is the story of one boy in Havana and his parents’ difficult decision in 1961 to send him alone to Miami to keep him safe and free from communist indoctrination.

Play track above for samples of four songs written for Cuban band in the show (arranged by Yorgis Goiricelaya): Mi Cuba Es Para Siempre; Our Son; Tropicana Dreams; and Tell Me.


ACT I: It is 1960 and Castro is placing Cuba firmly on a path toward Communism.  Thousands are being imprisoned or executed for their opposition to the Castro regime.  Personal freedom is rapidly disappearing, and a network of committees is set up to spy on neighbors and report counter-revolutionary activity.  Maria and Juan realize that their son, Carlos, is no longer safe, but they disagree on whether to keep him at home or send him to Miami. After private schools are closed and children are being pressured to join communist youth groups, Juan and Maria finally agree on taking action to prevent him from being indoctrinated by the communists.   They make the difficult choice to send Carlos alone to Miami until either Juan and Maria can leave Cuba or Carlos can return.  Carlos’ journey to America becomes their source of hope for the future.

ACT II: Carlos adapts to his new life in Miami shelters, but soon he is placed with a foster family in Iowa.  Although he grows fond of his foster mother and life on the farm there, nightmares of his exodus haunt him.  After five years apart, Carlos’ birth mother arrives in Miami and they are reunited.  However, a difficult period of adjustment follows.  Years later when Carlos’ painful memories become overwhelming, Maria finally forces him to hear the truth regarding his departure and what happened to their family left behind.  Carlos later learns that he was one of over 14,000 children flown without their parents from Havana to Miami between December 1960 and October 1962 in a secret plan that would later be called “Operation Pedro Pan.” Carlos becomes a university professor and, after coming to terms with his past, eventually lectures about this event. When a Cuban band gives a rare performance at his university in Miami, Carlos reconnects with his past . . . and hope for Cuba is renewed.

Play track above for four song samples in Act I:

What to Do? – vocals, Nick Richberg; piano, Caryl Fantel
I Wish – vocals, Alyssa Fantel & Dylan Alex; piano, Caryl Fantel
Interlude of Hope – vocals, Nick Richberg; piano, Caryl Fantel
Journey of Hope – vocals, Jeni Hacker & Nick Richberg; piano, Caryl Fantel
Play track above for four song samples in Act II:

A Mother’s Wish – vocals, Jeni Hacker; piano, Caryl Fantel
Freedom – vocals, Jeni Hacker; piano, Caryl Fantel
Moment of Truth – vocals, Nick Richberg; piano, Caryl Fantel
Tell Me – vocals, Jeni Hacker; piano Caryl Fantel; percussions, Roy Fantel