Gloria & Emilio Estefan Launch Drag Dinners at Miami Hotel for 25th Anniversary of The Birdcage
“You can’t watch The Birdcage and not think, ‘wow’, Miami is beautiful,” Gloria tells PEOPLE about the hilarious 1996 film shot in the Art Deco district
For Gloria and Emilio Estefan, there is no better way to celebrate Pride Month this June than by paying tribute to the 25th anniversary of The Birdcage, a laugh-out-loud movie with a story of love, family and acceptance, filmed in their favorite city: Miami.
The musical superstars have created Dinner in Drag, an innovative private entertainment experience at their South Beach Cardozo Hotel, designed to inspire a sense of nostalgia for the iconic 1996 film. It launches June 1 and lasts through the end of 2021.
"We love The Birdcage," Gloria, 63, tells PEOPLE. "It is a hilarious portrayal of South Beach in the 1990s when that part of Miami was very much known for clubs and bars like we see in the film. Emilio and I feel a great sense of pride when we see our hometown showcased like this, and we wanted to pay tribute to the movie in our hotel."
A remake of the classic 1978 French farce, "La Cage aux Folles," The Birdcage is a story about an engaged couple (Calista Flockhart and Dan Futterman) introducing their future in-laws. His father is played by Robin Williams, a gay Miami drag club owner, who pretends to be straight and attempts to hide his 20-year relationship with the club's flamboyant star (Nathan Lane), so as not to upset his fiancé's father, a conservative senator portrayed by Gene Hackman.
Dinner in Drag, a high-energy night out, will be staged in Cardozo's VIP Room for both hotel guests and others who make reservations to come for the show. The cheeky experience will include an over-the-top performance curated by Athena Dion, the star and producer of Miami's popular R House Drag Brunch.
The entire two-hour show will feature musical performances, dance routines, comedy, plus a drag queen DJ to maintain the magical mood. Guests will enjoy a three-course meal from the Cardozo's new restaurant, Call Me Cuban by YUCA, with mojito pairings mixed, of course, by a bartender in drag!
"After dinner, we will actually show The Birdcage film on our built-in TV to cap off the evening," says Gloria. "We love that people can come into Cardozo and have this experience inspired by a movie that is so entertaining and that our family enjoys so much."
The superstar couple, who renovated the historic 1939 Cardozo South Beach hotel on Ocean Drive in 2019, also love that part of the movie was filmed nearby.
"It is so fun to see that and recognize the different places—especially when we re-watch the film so many years later, because Ocean Drive is very different now than it was in the 90s," says Gloria.
In the film, Gloria performs "Congo" accompanied by the rocking Miami Sound Machine, and Emilio, 68, worked on the soundtrack.
Both Estefans are thrilled to debut Dinner in Drag during June's LGBTQ month. "I do think it's great that we can celebrate a community of individuals during a specific month as we continue working toward real equality and acceptance," says Gloria, who is about to begin filming a remake of the 1991 movie, Father of the Bride with Andy Garcia in which a Cuban American family whose daughter is marrying into a Mexican American family.
"We are all human and each of us deserves to be loved and respected," she says.
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