“Jamaica Farewell” headed to the Royal George

SHARE “Jamaica Farewell” headed to the Royal George

In 2012, I reviewed “Jamaica Farewell” that played at Chicago’s Chopin Theatre. Here is part of what I wrote: “The stage is bare, aside from some old suitcases. But have no fear: Jamaican-bred, Los Angeles-based actress Debra Ehrhardt is a storyteller who can fill up empty space with the sheer power of her exuberant storytelling. As she spins her self-penned one-woman show — recounting the saga of how she realized her more than decade-long dream of emigrating from the Caribbean “paradise island” of her birth to the United States — she fills our imagination with people, places and near-catastrophic experiences. In a rapid-fire 95 minutes she takes us through her life from 7 years old to almost 20, and then jumps ahead two decades for a brief update.”

Chances are you missed that initial production. But here’s the good news: Producer and man-of-all-creative trades Hershey Felder is bringing “Jamaica Farewell” to the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, for a limited engagement running Sept. 8 – Oct. 8. The show, directed by Joel Zwick, and billed as “a play bout a different type of immigrant adventure [that tells] the mostly true story of a young woman who hustles her way into America with a duffel bag full of cash,” is the latest of Felder’s many one-person ventures that include both his own shows (“George Gershwin Alone” and “Maestro Bernstein”), and those of others (Mona Golabek’s “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” and the recent “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara”).

Actress Debra Eberhardt in “Jamaica Farewell.”

Actress Debra Eberhardt in “Jamaica Farewell.”

When Ehrhardt was an 18- year-old secretary in Kingston, Jamaica, she and her passion for America happily “bumped into” a handsome CIA agent over a bowl of oxtail soup during a lunch break. During the turbulent ’70s of the Michael Manley Era she saw her chance – a pinhole of opportunity she could squeeze through with the help of this love-struck American. And so began a dangerous adventure that only the single-minded passion of a teenage girl would chance.

The boundary between bravery and foolishness blurred as Ehrhardt became more desperate. When she agreed to smuggle a million U.S. dollars in cash to a mysterious contact somewhere in Miami, the agent became her accomplice, though he had no idea what he was actually doing.

All tickets to “Jamaica Farewell” are $50 and go on sale Friday, June 19. Call (312) 988-9000 or visit http://www.ticketmaster.com.

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