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First Look at SAG Awards’ Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun.

Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium.

“We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close friends that have opened up a restaurant and hotel in Havana, and have some very close ties to great Cuban artists,” event producer Tony Schubert told Variety. “I was just inspired by their travels and all the elements that I saw that they were bringing home. It inspired me to do this kind of cool modern take on a 100-year-old Havana plaza.”

Schubert said he’s trying to create “movie magic” at this year’s event with the addition of numerous palm trees and several 20-foot arches, painted to look as if they’re from the 1920s. Additionally, the event’s lighting will focus on a similar time period, relying on candles and lanterns to achieve the amber-colored atmosphere that Schubert said is integral for any party.

“We live in a city where everybody wants to look good and it’s our job at events like this, and really all of our events, to make sure that the lighting is the right temperature, looks great for photographs, and people feel comfortable,” Schubert said.

This year’s live entertainment includes an art installation from legendary Cuban artist Kadir Lopez, who will be working on a new 6 x 4 painting inspired by the scenes he sees at the gala. His work will also be featured throughout the party, culminating in a 100-foot-long mural, which the artist is finishing on location in the week leading up to the gala.

As for the menu by Wolfgang Puck, Schubert promises classic Cubano sandwiches, Cuban-inspired cocktails, and a large seafood station inspired by Cuban spices.

The party will also highlight the charitable efforts of the evening’s stars, as well as a $125,000 grant to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Catastrophic Health Fund from the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Stand Up to Cancer division.

The SAG Awards airs live on TNT and TBS on Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.

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