NEW YORK – In the world of theater, a good script, proper direction and excellent character portrayal by the actors are key elements in the making of a good show. The theatrical critics will come in and give their honest and critical views about the show, but it is ultimately the theater going public that decides if a show should stick around and survive the test of time.
Surviving the test of time is decided by the patrons who queue up outside the theater nightly and the curtains going up to sold out audiences for months which later turns into years. With all the above being true, SCANDAL has certainly earned its place in the record books , because after some twenty five years, the Michael Denton penned SCANDAL has had countless rave reviews and sold out performances , giving the play the honor of being the record holder for the Longest running and most successful play in the history of Jamaican theater , with 1084 performances and global recognition , having done performances in Jamaica , London and Toronto.
This is not a status that is easily attained, as theatrical productions can be very costly and may not show a return on the investment, most thespians will tell you that they do it for the love of the art, gratefully many lovers of the theatrical arts have turned it into a business a many does it as a full time job as is the case with Michael Denton.
There has been many great and successful productions and in the words of the late theatrical critic Archie Lindo, “Many greats but Scandal keeps packing them in”, Mr. Lindo’s words holds true to this date as prior to Scandal , the Ed Bim Lewis production of A Gun Court Affair , was the record breaking play of the day , other record breakers included Paul Beals’ Unda Mi Nose, The LTM national pantomime The Pirate Princess, Dead-Lef, another Michael Denton penned script. Also included in the honor roll are David Heron’s Ecstasy, Everton Dawkins’ Passa Passa and the Garfield Reid produced Bashment Granny.
Scandal was written in 1983 by Denton, who at the time was fresh out of high school and had been bitten by the entertainment bug from his childhood days while in preparatory school. The play was rehearsed by a young theatrical group he had formed in the resort town of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The play opened in October of ’83 to a very appreciative audience in Ocho Rios and after a few performances people began talking about the show.
Producer Ralph Holness at that time was doing his other productions in Kingston and having worked with Denton a year earlier, he had an interest in seeing what this new play was about, upon seeing the play in late1984 with director Delroy Roach, the contracts were signed and SCANDAL took the island like a storm.
So huge were the crowds that came out to see the play , that on one occasion people began lining up the hot Caribbean sun from mid day outside the Ward Theater in Kingston , Jamaica, in order to get a seat for a 6pm. show, on another occasion the audience outside the theater was about three times the theater’s capacity and police officers had to be brought in to control the crowd wanting to see SCANDAL. Many are the crowd stories of Scandal, the play was once advertised for one show only, so huge was the crowd that a second show was held on the same day. When the play was booked for performances in Toronto, all shows were sold out before the cast and crew even boarded the flights in Jamaica.
Scandal is undoubtedly a record breaker in terms of record audiences and rave reviews. Toronto based theatre critic, Eddie Grant said in his review, before the inception of the Actor Boy awards in Jamaica, “If theater awards are ever given in Jamaica , Scandal certainly deserves one for it’s down to earth honesty and wit”. In London, it was considered a story so shocking that it could be true.
Scandal tells the story of a destitute young man, Boy blue who is soon to become a father, but unwilling to accept the responsibility, dreams only of the day when he becomes a multi-millionaire.
Twenty years later the dream comes true due to under handed dealings and trickery and as his earnings are spent foolishly, he does not enjoy his affluence. His scheming and dealings leads to what makes the play really worth seeing, the play ultimately leads to an extremely dramatic climax. Critic Balford Henry said, “Scandal deals with a subject which is so serious that it makes the comedy ironical”.
Scandal returns to the stage in October of 2008, with its opening in New York. The play will feature Diane Dixon, Devon McLean and Angela Simms among other talented performers.
SCANDAL will be presented in Queens on Friday Oct.10th at 8pm., in Bronx and on Saturday Oct.11th. at 8pm. and in the Brooklyn on Sunday Oct.12th at 7pm.