Star J’can cast lines up for second mounting of Alwin Bully script

May 13, 2024

article reposted by Chelsea


Three-time Actor Boy Award winner Karl O’Brian Williams, Miranda Melhado of Amazon Prime’s horror feature Amityville Vampire, and Emilio Evans of the popular Allblk network drama Makeup and Breakup (Makeup X Breakup) are the latest actors announced for the American premiere presentation of Alwin Bully’s Caribbean drama McBee.

They join the previously announced Luke Forbes (Amazon Prime’s Harlem) and Denise Hunt (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) for the one night only production, which takes place on Sunday, June 23 at 7:00 pm at the Jamaica Performing Arts Centre (JPAC) in Queens, New York.

The event is in tribute to McBee’s playwright, Dominican-born Alwin Bully, who died in March 2023, and is part of the celebration of New York’s annual Caribbean American Heritage Month festivities, held across the city each June.

Broadway World Award winner David Heron serves as producer and director of the project.

McBee is set on an unnamed Caribbean island in the recent past and follows the story of husband and wife politicians Allan and Alice McBee (Forbes and Hunt, respectively). On his way home on general election night following his party’s victory at the polls, McBee encounters three mysterious Rastafarians who inform him that he is destined to become prime minister of the nation. When he shares the news with his ambitious spouse, she immediately begins to forge the bloody plan to make the prediction a reality. But the couple soon discovers that the choices they make may possibly come at a price — far too high for them and their country to pay.

Williams will play the role of Prime Minister Vere Duncan Sr, the newly re-elected national leader who stands in the way of the McBees’ dream, while Melhado is cast as young politician Antoinette Cross, a loyal party ally of the couple. Evans portrays politician Bernard Bannis, Allan McBee’s close colleague and, significantly, the only other witness to the Rastafarian prophecy on the fateful night that McBee receives it.

Said Heron: “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. 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.”

The Jamaican born playwright, producer and actor 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.

Heron is one of only a handful of Caribbean-born actors consistently performing Shakespeare professionally throughout the USA. Heron’s Shakespearean resume also includes Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Hamlet, among others.

McBee was written by Bully 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.

“I would not be the artist I am today without [Bully]. And several of the actors in our production feel the same way,” shared Heron about the designer of the national flag of Dominica.

In addition to McBee, his other plays include The Ruler, Good Morning, Miss Millie, and The Nitebox.

Jamaican-born Karl O’Brian Williams is an actor, playwright, director, and educator deeply committed to arts education and theatre for social justice and transformation. He is appeared in New York productions such as

The Tempest, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and Antony and Cleopatra while his screen credits include the films Betta Mus’ Come and One Love.

Miranda Melhado is a Jamaican actor and model who has earned excellent reviews for her performance as a fiery Latina prostitute in the pilot episode of the series From Yard, which has recently been named an official selection for several major international film festivals.

Born in the USA to Jamaican parents, Evans has appeared on television series, including Law and Order Organized Crime and Power Book II-Ghost. He also played Judas Iscariot in the 2019 fortieth anniversary staged reading concert production of Jamaican Easton Lee’s classic passion play, The Rope and The Cross, held in New York.

Want to Be a Guest?

Email Us Your Story


Stream our top episodes!

More Posts for Show: Cruisin On The EDGE w/ Danae