'Jamaica Farewell' to hit Cayman stage next month

The Cayman Drama Society is gearing up to present the award-winning, internationally acclaimed “Jamaica Farewell” for three nights, April 4 to 6.  

Written and performed by Debra Ehrhardt, and directed by Joel Zwick, the play is based on Ehrhardt’s life story, chronicling her escape from revolution-torn Jamaica in the 1970s and pursuing her lifelong dream of moving to America. 

In addition, Ehrhardt will also hold a three-hour seminar, “How to Write and Produce a Solo Show” at the Prospect Playhouse, April 7 from 7 p.m. No previous playwriting experience is necessary.  

Ehrhardt was an 18-year-old secretary working in Kingston, Jamaica, when she bumped into an American CIA agent during her lunch break. It was during the turbulent ‘70s of the Manley Era, and through her chance meeting with the love-struck agent she saw an opportunity to escape. 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 U.S. dollars in cash to a mysterious contact somewhere in Miami, the agent became her accomplice. Only he had no idea. 

“Jamaica Farewell” is 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” and for her outstanding contribution to the Jamaican community. The play was the final production in the 2010-11 subscription season at Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theater in Los Angeles and has been optioned by a major Hollywood film producer.  

A member of the Writer’s Guild of America, Ehrhardt is currently adapting “Jamaican Farewell” for the big screen.  

Director Zwick directed “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “Fat Albert” and “Elvis Has Left the Building.” Zwick also directed the Broadway production of “George Gershwin Alone” at the Helen Hayes Theater. He is currently directing “Shake it Up” for the Disney Channel.  

The show will be staged April 4 at 7:30 p.m,; April 5 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and April 6 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. 
The playwriting seminar with Ehrhardt costs $90. Tickets are available by emailing [email protected] or by calling 938-1998. Part proceeds from the seminar and play will benefit the Cayman Drama Society’s youth support programs. For more information about CDS, visit cds.ky. For more details on the play visit jamaicafarewelltheplay.com

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Debra Ehrhardt in a scene from ‘Jamaica Farewell.’

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