Photo Flash: JAMAICA, FAREWELL Celebrates Opening Night at the Royal George Theatre

Continuing to bring exciting stories and new productions to beloved Chicago audiences, 'Hershey Felder Presents' (George Gershwin Alone, Maestro Bernstein, The Pianist of Willesden Lane, Louis and Keely 'Live' at the Sahara) now brings a brand new production of the award-winning and internationally acclaimed play JAMAICA FAREWELL, written and performed by Debra Ehrhardt and directed by Joel Zwick, to Chicago's Royal George Theatre. Based on her true life story, writer-performer Ehrhardt's JAMAICA FAREWELL chronicles her escape from revolution-torn Jamaica in the 1970's to fulfill her lifelong dream of coming to America. Performances began at Chicago's Royal George Theatre 1641 North Halsted, 60614, on September 8 and continue through Sunday October 11th in a strictly limited engagement. Scroll down for photos from the opening night festivities!

When Debra Ehrhardt was an 18-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. During the turbulent 70s of the Manley Era 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.

This is Kingston-born Debra Ehrhardt's third one-woman show. Previous productions include award-winning Mango Mango and Invisible Chairs, which was produced by David Strasberg at the Marilyn Monroetheatre in West Hollywood and later optioned as a situation comedy by Fox. Ehrhardt was also a 2007 NYC Fringe festival award-winner and received a 2007 Proclamation from the City of New York for JAMAICA FAREWELL for her outstanding contribution to the Jamaican community. JAMAICA FAREWELL was optioned by Rita Wilson-Hanks who produced the play withGarry Marshall at the Falcon Theatre. Ehrhardt is currently adapting JAMAICA FAREWELL for the big screen. More info at

Joel Zwick (Director) directed My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Recent films include Fat Albert and Elvis Has Left the Building. Zwick directed the Broadway production of Hershey Felder'sGeorge Gershwin Alone at the Helen Hayes Theatre, as well as Felder's Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven as I Knew Him, and Maestro Bernstein. He began his theatrical career at La Mama E.T.C. as director of the La Mama Plexus. He has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and for Broadway touring companies. Zwick is recognized as one of Hollywood's most prolific directors of episodic television, having the direction of 550 episodes to his credit. He is currently directing Shake it Up for the Disney Channel. Zwick has taught drama at Yale University, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Wheaton College and USC and has made his home in Hollywood for the past decade.

The artistic team for JAMAICA FAREWELL is led by Director Joel Zwick. Scenic Design is by Hershey FelderandTrevor Hay, Sound Design is by Erik Carstensen, Lighting Design is by Ricahrd Norwood and Video Design is byAndrew Wilder. Scenic Decoration is by Meghan Maiya and Stacy Nezda. Matt Marsden serves as General Manager and the Production Stage Manager is Rebecca Peters. Karen Racanelli Serves as executive producer, and Samantha F. Voxakis serves as associate producer.

All tickets are $50. Tickets will be on sale at The Royal George Theatre and may be purchased by calling 312.988.9000. Box office hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tickets may also be purchased online at

Photo Credit: Jennifer Vander Sanden

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