Wednesday, 29 July 2015

STAGE LEFT: What’s new, what’s next, what’s trending on Jamaica’s theatre scene (and Broadway)

Akeem Mignott may be a young leading man on the rise, but the talented actor is also quietly building a solid presence in the realm of media and television. In addition to a recurring gig as Jenny Jenny’s co-host on Dancin’ Dynamites, Mignott now lends his star power and energy to new-kid-on-the-block channel FEVA TV as an on-air talent. Mignott and other members of the FEVA team were spotted all over Montego Bay last weekend, on the occasion of Reggae Sumfest, scoring interviews with everyone from dancehall’s finest to International Night headliner Common. As for his red-hot acting career, Mignott was last seen on stage co-starring with Glen Campbell and Natalee Cole in Hurricane Honeymoon at the Little Theatre.

Even as Ole Fyah Stick continues to flash sparks, thrilling audiences on the road from Kingston to Montego Bay, Deon Silvera and Dahlia Harris are already plotting their next creative partnership. Silvera was also in the Second City for Reggae Sumfest last weekend and told TALLAWAH that she’s already booked to costar in Harris’ next play for DMH Productions, which premieres in December. Prior to Ole Fyah Stick, the dynamic duo previously collaborated on shows like Jamaica 2 Rahtid, Back A Yaad, and Judgment.

Recording new music and working on her well-anticipated next album (a follow-up to the incredible Sunday Kind of Love) has kept Keisha Patterson busy and out of the spotlight, but we hear she’s making a big theatrical comeback this summer. According to our sources, the singer-actress, last seen in Paternal Instinct at the Pantry and Ladies of the Night at Centrestage, is bringing her versatile acting skills and terrific vocals to the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company’s At the Barricades, a brash musical loosely based on the classic Les Miserables, playing at the Philip Sherlock Centre in August. More to come.

Following her first appearance on a Jamaican concert stage, Jennifer Hudson is gearing up to make her debut appearances on a Broadway stage. The Oscar and Grammy winner has landed the coveted role of Shug Avery in a revival of The Colour Purple, a role that will see her blending her twin passions of acting and singing in eight shows per week, starting in September. During a Q-and-A at the Reggae Sumfest press conference in Montego Bay, Hudson told TALLAWAH that preparing for the role has been understandably “challenging”, but she’s up to the task and grateful for the “discipline” that’s come along with it.

Productions that do business on the Kingston theatre scene during the summer months are hardly, if ever at all, dedicated to the Emancipendence spirit of our forebears. Perhaps that’s because the Pantomime Company does such a fine job of covering that beat year after year, fusing music, drama and humour into an entertaining package for their annual summer show. This year’s offering Freedom Fi Who? promises another generous slice of enlightenment and wholesome family entertainment, when it plays at the Little Little Theatre on Saturday, August 1 (3:30pm and 7:30pm) and Sunday, August 2 (4:30pm). Freedom Fi Who? – A story about our ancestors’ journey to ‘full free.’

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