Jamaica (musical)

Jamaica (musical)

Infobox Musical
name= Jamaica

caption= Original Cast Recording
music= Harold Arlen
lyrics= E. Y. Harburg
book= E. Y. Harburg
Fred Saidy
productions= 1957 Broadway

"Jamaica" is a musical with a book by E. Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy, lyrics by Harburg, and music by Harold Arlen. Harburg was blacklisted in Hollywood at the time of the writing of the musical. [http://www.42ndstmoon.com/History/Harburg.html Information from 42ndstmoon website] ] Set on a small island off the coast of Jamaica, the musical tells about a simple island community fighting to avoid being over-run by American commercialism.

Arlen's music parodies the popular form of Calypso, which was in vogue in the 1950s, largely as a result of the popularity of Harry Belafonte, for whom the musical was originally written. Belafonte withdrew from the production due to illness, and the musical was then tailored around the talents of Lena Horne. With Calypso so out of fashion the musical now is dated, but many of the issues raised in its songs, including evolution, nuclear energy, and consumerism, remain topical today.

The Broadway production, directed by Robert Lewis and choreographed by Jack Cole, opened on October 31, 1957 at the Imperial Theatre, produced by David Merrick, where it had a successful run totaling 558 performances. The cast included Ricardo Montalbán as Koli and Lena Horne as Savannah, with Ossie Davis as Cicero, Erik Rhodes as Governor, Adelaide Hall as Grandma Obeah, and Josephine Premice as Ginger. Alvin Ailey was the principal dancer.

An original cast recording was released by RCA Victor.


The beautiful island girl, Savannah, longs to escape to New York City to live a life of modern conveniences. She is tempted to accept the marriage proposal of a New York businessman visiting the island. However, when an impoverished fisherman, Koli, saves her younger brother's life during a hurricane, she opts to remain with him.

Cast of characters (in order of appearance)

* Koli
* Quico
* Savannah
* Grandma Obeah
* Ginger
* Snodgrass
* Hucklebuck
* Island Women
* The Governor
* Cicero
* Lancaster
* First Ship's Officer
* Second Ship's Officer
* Joe Nashua
* Dock Worker
* Radio Announcer

ong list

;Act I
*Savannah's Wedding Day
*Pretty to Walk With
*Push the Button
*Little Biscuit
*Coconut Sweet
*Pity the Sunset
*Yankee Dollar
*What Good Does It Do?
*Monkey in the Mango Tree
*Take It Slow, Joe
*Ain't It the Truth;Act II
*Leave the Atom Alone
*Coconut Sweet (Reprise)
*For Every Fish
*I Don't Think I'll End It All Today
*Ain't It the Truth (Reprise)
*Savannah (Reprise)

Tony Award nominations

*Best Musical
*Best Actor in a Musical (Montalban)
*Best Actress in a Musical (Horne)
*Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Davis)
*Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Premice)
*Best Scenic Design
*Best Costume Design


External links

* [http://www.ibdb.com/show.asp?ID=4838 Internet Broadway Database listing]
* [http://www.nodanw.com/shows_j/jamaica.htm Guide to Musical Theatre - Jamaica]
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,867970,00.html Time Magazine review]

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