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  Jamaica, Farewell at Chopin Theatre

Jamaica, Farewell

Chopin Theatre
1543 W. Division Chicago

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 seventies of the Manley Era 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.

Presented by Meadowbrook Entertainment

Thru - May 27, 2012

Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 8:00pm
Sundays: 4:00pm

Price: $36

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 800-838-3006

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  Jamaica, Farewell Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...But whatever your point of origin, be it ten thousand or ten miles from Wicker Park, you'll likely find yourself staring at Ehrhardt, who is uncommonly beautiful, and musing on how the world kicks out remarkable people who refuse to stay where they are put. America is far luckier than it realizes that so many of them want to come here."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"... The stage of the Chopin Theatre is bare, aside from a large steamer trunk and a few stacks of 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. And as she spins her self-penned one-woman show, “Jamaica, Farewell” —recounting the adventure-filled 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 a slew of people, places and near-catastrophic experiences."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Lithe, funny Debra Ehrhardt spins an autobiographical tale of growing up in Jamaica, dreaming of America, and, at age 17, meeting a handsome CIA agent stationed in Kingston (nothing creepy there) who helps her start a new life in Miami. Ehrhardt's eye for detail competes with her penchant to play for laughs, and the result is a story that strains credulity but wells with witty dialogue that'll be right at home in the movie adaptation."
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Keith Griffith

Talkin Broadway - Recommended

"... The attractive and athletic Ehrhardt performs her show with an energy and verve that belie the many times she's done this for an audience. It's a short but enjoyable show that passes even faster than its 85 minutes would suggest, due to Ms. Ehrhardt's likable presence."
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John Olson

Centerstage - Recommended

"...That this is a “mostly true” story makes it all the more absorbing. We see Erhardt’s father, an alcoholic gambler with British and Scottish genes, who “looks like Elvis and sounds like Bob Marley.” We see her pious mother who prays for her father to change and for Debbie to win her dream of going to America. And we see Debbie, a fun-loving Jamaican girl willing to leave her beloved homeland behind to capture her dream. Clearly, she achieves that dream but it’s the journey that’s so exciting."

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Driving the show are the actress’s appealing presence and her ability to move in and out of characters ranging from her mother and father to the American CIA agent who unwittingly keeps her out of jail. She doesn’t quite have the shape-shifting talents of an Anna Deveare Smith, nor the yarn-spinning abilities of Mike Daisey, yet she’s got an energy to match either of these stalwart solo performers. For those of us who know Jamaica primarily as the land of white sand and Bob Marley, Ehrhardt’s story is a welcome and poignant revelation."
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Suzanne Scanlon

Chicago Theatre Addict - Recommended

"...Ehrhardt is a charming, straightforward performer who easily slips between her wide-eyed childhood self to her no-nonsense mother to her deadbeat alcoholic father, as well as other colorful characters on her path to freedom from ravaged 1970s Kingston, Jamaica. She certainly knows how to spin a tale using both humor and pathos, and the dramatic stakes get higher as, after several false starts and dead ends, she latches onto a risky and nearly life-threatening opportunity involving a bag of money and a man named “Bullet” to make it to America. I’d be interested to know how much of it is true vs. teased up for dramatic purposes, but I was engaged throughout, and it all felt honest, so that’s what really matters."
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Bob Bullen

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...or anyone who has ever had a dream, which is everyone, the story will resonate on a variety of different levels. You will laugh, you will cry, you will stand up and cheer. "Jamaica, Farewell" is more than an average "Coming to America" story; it is about overcoming the everyday obstacles that hinder us to realize our dreams. See this show before it leaves Chicago and continues to its next destination! You won't be disappointed."

Jake Lindquist

Chicago Theater Beat - Recommended

"...The thoroughly charming Debra Ehrhardt reminisces about her voyage from Kingston, Jamaica to Miami, USA. In her engaging one woman story, Ehrhardt mimics her seven year old self, alcoholic father, religious mother and many other colorful characters. Under the direction of Joel Zwick, an animated Ehrhardt scurries around luggage in her energetic recollection of her passage’s events. The stage has trunks and suitcases strewn across it. The ever-moving Ehrhardt darts in, around, and on top of them to create the illusion of travel. Ehrhardt is a delightfully lilted storyteller. And the audience goes with her on her elaborately described adventure."

Katy Walsh

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