David Heron to Produce and Direct American Premiere Presentation of Alwin Bully’s McBee

 Caribbean Stage Drama Is based on Shakespeare’s MacBeth and will be part of New York City’s Caribbean American Heritage Month Celebrations in June

NEW YORK Broadway World Award winner David Heron will produce and direct the American Premiere presentation of the late Dominican born playwright Alwin Bully’s Caribbean drama McBee in Jamaica, Queens in June.

The play will be presented as a one night only staged reading production at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC) on Sunday June 23 at 7pm. It will be preceded by a Caribbean cuisine reception from 5:30pm. The premiere is an exclusive cultural event in celebration of New York City’s annual Caribbean American Heritage Month festivities, held across the city each June.

Jamaican born playwright, producer and actor Heron won the coveted 2023 Broadway World Award for Best Supporting Performer earlier this year for his performance as Caliban in The Colonial Theatre of Rhode Island’s Shakespeare in the Park production of The Tempest. The show was staged last summer in Wilcox Park, Westerly, Rhode Island. Heron is one of only a handful of Caribbean born actors consistently performing Shakespeare professionally throughout the USA.

David Heron to Produce and  Direct American  Premiere  Presentation of Alwin Bully's Mcee
David Heron | Photo courtesy of Nehassaiu deGannes.

In Heron’s own words, “My decision to present Alwin’s incredible play McBee– his unique Caribbean take on Shakespeare’s classic drama Macbeth– is my own way of paying tribute to one of my greatest mentors, friends and a giant among Caribbean artists, while also honoring  my own Shakespearean roots. Alwin has taken several elements of Shakespeare’s original tale and merged them seamlessly into what is a thoroughly engrossing political drama that stands proudly on its own in the modern world. And as a cultural presentation during Caribbean American Heritage Month, it could not be more appropriate.”

Allan McBee

McBee is set on an unnamed Caribbean island in the recent past. Respected politician Allan McBee is on his way home on general election night immediately following  his party’s victory at the polls, when he encounters three Rastafarians who share with him a stunning prophecy- that he is destined to become Prime Minister of the island nation. When he arrives home and shares the news with his ambitious wife and fellow politician Alice McBee, she immediately begins to envision a future for them far beyond McBee’s wildest dreams- and begins to forge the bloody plan to make it all a reality. But in a world where nothing is quite what it seems, the choices that the McBees make may come at a price far too high to pay.

The play was written by Bully- who passed away after a long illness in early 2023- in the 1990s, and has only ever been produced once-its World Premiere production in Jamaica in 1997. In the final years of his life, Bully was in regular contact with Heron regarding the play, as he re-worked the script considerably in the hopes that with Heron’s collaboration, it might one day be seen on American soil.

“Sadly, Alwin transitioned before we could get any incarnation of the play on to an American stage,” Heron says, “So this American premiere production is really a celebration of him and his lifetime of amazing achievements, of which McBee is only one.”

According to Heron, an accomplished cast of renowned actors spanning the worlds of stage, film, television and Broadway – several of whom worked with and were nurtured by Bully also- is being assembled for the production.

David Heron to Produce and  Direct American  Premiere  Presentation of Alwin Bully's Mcee - Alwin Bully, David Heron, Anita Bully
David Heron flanked by Dominican playwright, the late Alwin Bully and his wife, Anita Bully. |Photo courtesy of David Heron.

“Along with another great Caribbean artist, the late Trevor Nairne, Alwin Bully has been the single greatest supporter, influencer and mentor in my entire career.  I would not be the artist I am today without him. And several of the actors in our production feel the same way. So we are using Caribbean American Heritage Month and this event to share Alwin’s legacy with the world and to provide an evening of theatre that will be truly memorable for our audience, right in the heart of Jamaica Queens.”

Dominican Playwright Alwin Bully

Dominican playwright, the late Alwin Bully.
Dominican playwright, the late Alwin Bully. | Photo courtesy of Anita Bully.

Born in Roseau, Dominica, Alwin Bully was a cultural administrator, playwright, actor and artist who designed the national flag of  Dominica.  His association with Heron and many other major Jamaican artists flourished during his two decades in Jamaica as UNESCO’s Caribbean Cultural Advisor. In addition to McBee, his other plays include The Ruler, Good Morning, Miss Millie and The Nitebox. He received Dominica’s second highest national honor, The Sisserou Award of Honor, in 1985. Upon his passing in 2023, he was hailed throughout the Caribbean as a cultural icon and was accorded a full state funeral by the Dominican government.

In addition to his award winning role in The Tempest, Heron’s Shakespearean resume also includes Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello and Hamlet among others.

David Heron and Patrice Foster as Lord and Lady Montague in  Romeo and Juliet.
David Heron and Patrice Foster as Lord and Lady Montague in Romeo and Juliet. | Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Festival of St Louis.

Casting announcements for McBee will begin shortly. Tickets for the production will go on sale in early May. This includes a limited number which will be available at early purchase discount prices.


South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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