Full Cast, Including Jamaican Actors, Announced for American Premiere of “McBee” on June 23 in Jamaica, Queens

The full cast has been announced for the American premiere of Alwin Bully’s Caribbean drama “McBee,” featuring Yinka Adey, Jerry Benzwick, Dianne Dixon, Gerard Joseph, Mitzie Pratt, and James Duke Walker. This one-night-only performance, a tribute to the late playwright, will take place on Sunday, June 23, at 7 PM at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC) in Jamaica, Queens. The event will be preceded by a complimentary Golden Krust Caribbean Cuisine Reception at 5:30 PM.

Jerry Benzwick- Photo courtesy of Jerry Benzwick

Yinka Adey,  Actor Boy Award nominee Jerry Benzwick, two time Audelco Award nominee Dianne Dixon, Gerard Joseph, Mitzie Pratt and Oniros Film Award winner James Duke Walker complete  an accomplished ensemble  for the eagerly anticipated event.

Yinka Adey- Photo courtesy of Yinka Adey

 They join the previously announced Luke Forbes (Amazon Prime’s Harlem), Denise Hunt (How Stella Got Her Groove Back), Miranda Melhado (Amazon prime’s Amityville Vampire), Emilio Evans (Allblk TV’s Makeup X Breakup) and three time Actor Boy Award winner Karl O’Brian Williams, under the direction of Broadway World Award winner David Heron, who also serves as producer of  the event.

Dianne Dixon- Photo courtesy of Anthony Legg

Bully’s play is based on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and will be performed on American soil for the first time ever as a staged reading presentation, in tribute to the late playwright himself.  It will also be part of  New York  City’s festivities to mark  Caribbean American Heritage Month, celebrated annually in June throughout the USA.

Gerard Joseph- Photo courtesy of  Gerard Joseph

 Set on an unnamed Caribbean island in the recent past, McBee follows the story of husband and wife politicians Allan and Alice McBee (Forbes and Hunt, respectively). When on the night of his re-election, McBee encounters three mysterious Rastafarians who inform him that he is destined to become Prime Minister of the nation, he and his ambitious wife begin to forge the bloody plan  to make the prediction come true-  a plan that results in explosive consequences for themselves and for the country.

Mitzie Pratt- Photo courtesy of Mitzie Pratt

 Yinka Adey, Dianne Dixon and Gerard Joseph portray the three Rastafarians who reveal the prophecy to McBee that may ultimately change his life forever, while Mitzie Pratt and James Duke Walker both play politicians in the Mcbee’s circle. Jerry Benzwick portrays Peter, the long suffering and often hilarious butler to the McBee household.

James Duke Walker- Photo courtesy of Anthony Legg

Adey appears as Rastafarian Prince Ras, following recent stage appearances in acclaimed  productions such as Imbroglio (Great River Shakespeare Festival, Minnesota) and Karl O’Brian Williams’ The Black That I Am (HERE Arts Center, New York). He also performs with Something Positive and is the founder of  Monologue Roulette!  a creative developmental workshop and showcase series. His film credits include The Beautiful Ghost and the upcoming Caribbean Queen.

Dianne Dixon will portray Queen Ras, the sole female prophet among the trio of  Rastafarians. Dixon is a two time Audelco Award nominee for Excellence in Black Theatre Off  Broadway, having been nominated as Best Supporting Actress for the musical Jamaica and  for the drama Dinner at The Manse. Her recent stage credits include Mama Decemba for Banana Boat Productions in New York, and Chasing Grave at The Briggs Opera House in Vermont, while on screen she has been seen in the Emmy Award winning television series We Are New York as well as in the films RURI and Victims.

Gerard Joseph plays the third of the Rastafarian mystics, Bredda D. His performance in McBee marks the LA based actor’s return to the New York stage for the first time in several years. Joseph, like playwright Alwin Bully, is of Dominican descent. He has been seen on stage in such productions as The First Deep Breath, helmed by Broadway director Steve Broadnax, and Blueprints to Freedom, directed by Phylicia Rashad. His screen work includes the feature films Meat Puppet and Dogpark and the television productions Hiding Spot and Fish Priest.

Jamaican born Jerry Benzwick  is cast as Peter, the faithful and often feisty butler to the McBees. Under Alwin Bully’s direction,  Benzwick earned an Actor Boy Award nomination as Jamaica’s  Best Actor  for Thomas Southerne’s epic drama Oroonoko while still a student at the Jamaica School Of Drama. A former professional rugby player for team Jamaica, he has been seen on stages in Jamaica and the USA in productions including God’s Way and Single Entry and in the films The Last Britons and Nothing But Ghosts.

 Mitzie Pratt takes on the role of Mabel Angus, fellow politician and close friend of Alice McBee. Pratt’s career spans major roles on stage and screen both in the US and internationally. Her recent screen credits include the 2022 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning feature Nanny, currently available on Amazon Prime, as well as the original drama series Love My Roomie, also available on Amazon. On stage, she has been seen in New York productions including  Dahlia Harris’ God’s Way as well as in her native Jamaica where she has appeared in Feminine Justice and A Song For You among others.

James Duke Walker is cast as Vere Duncan Jr, son and political heir of  Prime Minister Vere Duncan Sr (Karl O’Brian Williams).  Discovered  while working as a unionized construction worker in New York, Walker immediately landed  a major role in the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s production Bro. He has since performed at The Apollo Theatre and at Manhattan Theatre Club’s City Centre Stage in staged reading productions of David Heron’s Against His Will. His television appearances include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and  Diabolical. He won the Oniros Film Award for Best Acting Debut for his first film, Roadside Assistance.

The American Premiere production of McBee is presented in association with  Kendel Instant Ginger Teas, The True Tribute Organization, IMC Media and Results Promo and Marketing.

Tickets are now available at mcbeetheplay.eventbrite.com.

The Jamaica Performing Arts Center is located at 153-10 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica NY, 11432.