Carmen Miranda

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Producer Lee Shubert offered Miranda an eight-week contract to perform in The Streets of Paris on Broadway after seeing her perform in 1939 at Rio’s Cassino da Urca. Although she was interested in performing in New York, she refused to accept the deal unless Shubert agreed to also hire her band, the Bando da Lua. He refused, saying that there were many capable musicians in New York who could back her. Miranda remained steadfast, feeling that North American musicians would not be able to authenticate the sounds of Brazil. Shubert compromised, agreeing to hire the six band members but not paying for their transport to New York. President Getúlio Vargas, recognizing the value to Brazil of Miranda's tour, announced that the Brazilian government would pay for the band's transportation on the Moore-McCormack Lines between Rio and New York. Vargas believed that Miranda would foster ties between the northern and southern hemispheres and act as a goodwill ambassador in the United States, increasing Brazil's share of the American coffee market. Miranda took the official sanction of her trip and her duty to represent Brazil to the outside world seriously. She left for New York on the SS Uruguay on May 4, 1939, a few months before World War II.