On Thursday, January 31st, 2019, The Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum recording artist Deborah Cox, performed at Seaspice in collaboration with The Arsht Center, for the first ever installment of “Arsht Live”. The night’s show, created by Broadway Director Richard Jay-Alexander (Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera) and Musical Director Joseph Joubert (Motown, Billy Elliot), was a sneak peek of Cox’s upcoming project, that is yet to be named.

“This is Arsht Live at Seaspice, a fundraiser for the Arsht Center’s Arts Education Program. We’ve partnered with Seaspice, who has contributed the entire location to us because they really believe in the power of Arts Education, in reaching out to the community, and in the power of the performing arts. We’ve also partnered with Deborah Cox, who is amazing, and she has teamed up with Richard Jay-Alexander, the incredible Broadway producer, and they’ve cooked up this show tonight. We are offering it specifically to all of our Arsht Center members, and so all the funds raised will go back to the Arsht Center and to Arts Education programs.” – Suzette Espinosa VP of Communication, Arsht Center

Upon entering the Seaspice restaurant, you instantly fall into a jazzy dream, with smooth music, as you drink and dine while gazing at the beautiful riverside view. The anticipation in the room was palpable as the Arsht Center’s members enjoyed Foie Gras Ravioli and Beef Wellington, and waited for Deborah Cox to arrive. Inside the Seaspice lounge bar, when the clock hit 8 pm, Cox appeared from its entrance singing the classic “La Vie En Rose” and interacting with the crowd. As she made her way to the stage she resembled what could best be described as a modern version of Josephine Baker.

The night expanded, and the audience enjoyed snip bits of the artist’s life and carrier, as well as a range of songs, from various Broadway hits, like Chicago and even SpongeBob, courtesy of her life as a mother, as well as her own hit song, “Nobody is Supposed to Be Here,” her latest song produced by hitmaker Desmond Child, and finally, she paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston, (fellow artist and label-mate) by singing “I Will Always Love You.” Deborah Cox gave a wonderful performance, she is a charismatic star, it is a thrill to watch her step on stage. You will find yourself logging to sing along. Her beautiful energy truly shines through her performance and undeniably talented voice. It was a wonderful evening for the arts in Miami, as well as for Deborah Cox. The dancer, singer, actress, mother, a supporter of the arts and the overall dazzling person that is Deborah Cox has new music and a new tour coming up soon. If it’s anything like this last performance, it will definitely be a ‘can’t-miss’.

After the concert, we caught up with the show’s director, Richard Jay-Alexander, and this is what he said,

“This was a great night to debut some of the material that we are working on for our new concert tour. It is the first time we have ever done this material, and based on the response, you know we needed this. We needed to learn if people liked it. So, Deborah, who is known for so much dance music, well, they loved her singing, her songs, her show-tunes, singing in French and, so it shows us that we are on the right track, which is very, very, exciting. I look forward to debuting it and I hope we get to do it here, with a full orchestra, in Miami, at the Arsht Center. For me, Deborah is a director’s dream. She is so willing to try new things and dive in, she is fearless, and I love her, she is a real lady, a class act, and you don’t find that anymore. She is one of the greatest singers I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with the biggest stars in the world. I think she has a great voice.”

Jay-Alexander wasn’t the only one that was grateful for the night. We were also able to talk to the Musical Director Joseph Joubert,

“It’s a thrill to work with Deborah Cox, she is an amazing performer and professional. It was an incredible experience doing the show with her and putting it together. I will be the musical director for the upcoming show and I can’t wait.”

Joseph Joubert and
Deborah Cox.

The audience seemed to have loved the concert, the creators of the show seem to be excited for its official debut. But, what about Deborah Cox?

Well, we had a chance to chat with her as well.

How did you find out about the Arsht Center and why did you decide to team up with them for this event? :

Well, I live here, and I’ve lived here for twenty years. I’ve seen performances at the Arsht Center, I performed at it with The Bodyguard, last year, and I fell in love with the venue, it’s such a beautiful venue. When I connected with Richard Jay, the Arsht Center reached out about doing this event to raise money for the Arts Program, and I am a recipient of funding for the arts. You know, growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot of money but there were arts programs that I was able to get involved with, so it really spoke to me and we quickly put this show together, so we could help raise a lot of funds.

Tell us about working with Richard Jay-Alexander…

I wanted to work with someone who has worked with legends, and Richard Jay has worked with Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler and a lot of the legendary vocalist. I wanted to create a show that was going to show all of the different sides of what I do musically and so we met, and we just clicked and connected, and it was just amazing.”

This show that you are creating with these wonderful directors, what is it going to be exactly?

It’s going to be all of the music that I’ve done in my career. It’s going to have personal stories, its going to be a broader version of what you saw tonight.

Do you have a name for the show yet?

“We don’t have a name for the show. I might just make a contest and get people to come up with names, so we will see.”

Should we expect a new record anytime soon?

“Yes, I am working on new music. *laughs* I get that question all the time. I don’t know when it will be released but I am finishing a lot of music so look up for that this year.

“Who are your musical influences?”

“Umm, Billy Holiday, Donna Washington, Whitney Houston, I love a lot of the classic songs. Those are the ones that come to mind at the moment.

During your performance, you mentioned Whitney Houston was your labelmate, can you tell us a little bit about your relationship?

“When you would come to North Miami we would always connect. One of my fondest memories is dancing with her at the Versace Mansion, there was a party there, we were both there. It was great. In 2000, we recorded a duet together called “Same Script, Different Cast” and that was when we got a chance to really talk about family, talk about being in this industry and having balance, and being able to be married and have children and still be able to do what I love to do. She was like a big sister.”

About The Author

Veronica Torres is a Puerto Rican writer and amateur photographer. She obtained her bachelor's degree with a Suma Cum Laude title from Florida International University and acquired an associates degree from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. Both institutions have shaped her as a person and an artist. Veronica is fluent in both English and Spanish, and this has allowed her to be published in both languages. You can find some of her previous work in HerCampus.com, as well as Claridad Newspaper (a local Puerto Rican paper). In addition, she is the current handler for the @writingflash Instagram page, that focuses on publishing Flash Fiction stories. Her personal Instagram handle is @iamanindigokid, there you can find updates on her life and her writing.

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