Empire Stage is thrilled to present the award winning and internationally acclaimed, JAMAICA FAREWELL, written and performed by Debra Ehrhardt and directed by Joel Zwick. Based on her true-life story, Ehrhardt’s Jamaica Farewell chronicles her escape from revolution-torn Jamaica in the 1970’s to fulfill her lifelong dream of going to America.
When Debra Ehrhardt was an eighteen-year old secretary in Kingston Jamaica, she and her passion for America bumped into a handsome CIA agent over a bowl of oxtail soup on her lunch break. It was during the turbulent Manley Era of the 1970’s that she saw her chance, a pinhole of opportunity that she could squeeze through with the help of this love-struck American. She began a dangerous adventure that only the single-minded passion of a teenage girl would chance. The boundary between bravery and foolishness blurred as she became more desperate. When she agreed to smuggle a million US dollars in cash to a mysterious contact somewhere in Miami, the agent became her accomplice. Only he had no idea.
This is Kingston-born Debra Ehrhardt’s third one-woman show. Previous productions include award-winning Mango Mango, and Invisible Chairs, which was produced by David Strasberg at the Marilyn Monroe theatre in West Hollywood and later optioned as a situation comedy by Fox. She was also a 2007 NYC Fringe festival award-winner and received a 2007 Proclamation from the City of New York for JAMAICA FAREWELL for her outstanding contribution to the Jamaican community. JAMAICA FAREWELL was optioned by Rita Wilson who produced the play with Garry Marshall as part of their subscription season at the Falcon Theatre. Ehrhardt is currently adapting JAMAICA FAREWELL for the big screen. For more info about the play, go to: www.jamaicafarewelltheplay.com
Joel Zwick directed My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Recent films include Fat Albert and Elvis Has Left the Building. Mr. Zwick directed the Broadway production of George Gershwin Alone at the Helen Hayes Theatre. He began his theatrical career at La Mama E.T.C., as director of the La Mama Plexus. He has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Broadway touring companies. He and Hershey Felder have collaborated on Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven As I Knew Him and Maestro. Mr. Zwick is recognized as one of Hollywood’s most prolific directors of episodic television, having the direction of five hundred and fifty episodes to his credit. He is currently directing ‘Shake it Up’ for the Disney Channel. Mr. Zwick has taught drama at Yale University, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Wheaton College, USC and has made his home in Hollywood for the past decade.
Jamaica Farewell will run at Empire Stage from September 26 through October 19, 2014 (with preview performance on September 25), Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 PM & Sundays at 5 PM. Tickets are $35 ($25 for preview) and may be purchased at www.empirestage.com or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. For cash reservations and general info, please call 954-678-1496.