Celia Cruz Play Opens Doors For Modesto Lacen


obra_de_celia_cruz In New York on August of 2007, the theatrical play “Celia: The Life and Times of Celia Cruz”, presents the life of the queen of salsa, as seen by the eyes of her husband Pedro Knight, a role played by Modesto Lacen. Ever since the play – that has been presented some days in English and others in Spanish – has received critical acclaim and recently, Modesto was nominated for best actor in a musical play by the New York Latin ACE Awards. Modesto, is precisely modest in receiving the unexpected nomination, saying that it was a surprise.



“The work that Xiomara Laugart did as Celia Cruz, the work of production, and the rest of the cast that sings, dances, and acts,” he said were reasons for the play’s success, “and the public that does not stop coming to our productions.”


Modesto Lacen, 31, is a Puerto Rican actor with more than 15 years experience as an actor, dancer, and director. In Puerto Rico, his acting career was established but he moved to Los Angeles a few years ago to advance his acting career in the United States. While finishing a movie in Puerto Rico, a friend got him an audition for the role of Pedro Knight.  “It was a blessing that came down from heaven,” Lacen said.



The challenging part was playing an elderly man, who is Cuban and raised in another era, very different from Lacen. It was a moving role in which at the end of the play, Pedro Knight dies, “but he died making it very clear the love that he had for Celia and thanks to her, he was a happy man and vice versa.”


Those who knew Pedro have congratulated him and have said the actor reminds them or Mr. Knight, which lets Lacen know that he did his job. More importantly, it helped celebrate his Caribbean culture with this play. Lacen now lives in New York and said that the play may go on tour worldwide after the last performance on June 1st.


Lacen is also the leading actor in “The Two Faces of Jano” (Las Dos Caras de Jano), a film that investigates the assassination of a homosexual man, which premieres in Puerto Rico in March. But the role that he wants to fulfill is of Puerto Rican baseball player, Robeto Clemente.



“His son, Luis Roberto Clemente, has said publicly that I am one of the actors that they’re thinking of to have that role. He specifically said that I’m the one that looks most like him because Roberto is a black Puerto Rican, with some unique qualities and from the actors that they’re thinking of, I’m the one that looks the most like him,” Lacen said.


He said that he wants to establish a long career and be able to make films in Latin America, as well as in the United States “doing roles requiring excellence.”



“Contribute to the work of other Latino artists like Raul Julia, Jose Ferrer, Javier Barden, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas. I would like to reach that level and be in that group of actors that have changed the way Latinos are viewed in the United States and worldwide.”

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