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  • Writer's pictureRiddimStyle Staff Writer

LUKE FORBES AND DENISE HUNT HEAD THE CAST OF McBEE US PREMIERE





New York - Luke Forbes, star of Amazon Prime’s popular comedy series Harlem, and Denise Hunt, best known for her scene stealing role in the hit film How Stella Got Her Groove Back, will head the cast of the American Premiere Presentation of Alwin Bully’s Caribbean drama McBee on Sunday June 23 at The Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC) in Jamaica Queens. The performance will begin at 7pm and will be preceded by a Caribbean Cuisine reception from 5:30pm.


 The play will be presented as a one night only staged reading production in tribute to its late playwright, Dominican born Alwin Bully,  and as 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.



 Set on an unnamed Caribbean island in the recent past, McBee follows the story of respected husband and wife politicians Allan and Alice McBee. On his way home on general election night following his party’s victory at the polls, McBee encounters three mysterious  Rastafarians who share with him a stunning prophecy- that he is destined to become Prime Minister of the island nation. When he imparts the news to his ambitious spouse, she immediately begins to envision a future for them far beyond McBee’s wildest dreams- and starts to forge the bloody plan to make it all a reality. But in a world where nothing is quite what it seems, the choices that the McBees make may come at a price far too high to pay- for themselves and their country.


Forbes and Hunt will play the pivotal roles of Allan and Alice McBee, and arrive at the project with an extensive list of credits that spans the worlds of stage, film, television and Broadway.


Forbes, who has Jamaican roots, can currently be seen in the role of Michael in Harlem. His additional screen appearances include television series such as Crown Heights, Chicago P.D., S.W.A.T.  and the Emmy Award winning This Is Us. He also appeared opposite Channing Tatum in the hit feature, Dog.


On stage, he made his Broadway debut in Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice, which featured Academy Award winner Al Pacino in the leading role. He has also been seen in The Winter’s Tale at The Public’s Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, the world premiere production of Marley- The Musical at Baltimore Center Stage and The Whipping Man at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey.


The Jamaican born Hunt is an actress, model and television host who memorably appeared opposite Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs in How Stella Got Her Groove Back.  She was also the original host of Television Jamaica’s groundbreaking music competition programme Rising Stars, and hosted the network’s longest running entertainment series, ER- The Entertainment Report  for several years before emigrating to the United States.


Her stage credits include popular Jamaican theatrical productions such as the world premiere of Heron’s award winning courtroom drama Against His Will and Jambiz International’s Dirty Diana. She has also toured regionally in the USA in the Broadway comedy Cheaters and throughout the United Kingdom in Heron’s comedy drama, Love and Marriage and New York City.


According to producer-director Heron, he has had long professional relationships with both performers and is delighted to be working with them again.

 

“Luke and I met as actors in the world premiere production of  Kwame Kwei Armah’s Marley- The Musical at Baltimore Centerstage several years ago,” he says, “And we have been interested in collaborating on something else for awhile now. So I relish this opportunity to welcome him to McBee and to see him add yet another terrific performance to his resume. Denise and I go back over twenty years since she appeared in my play Against His Will, and we toured together afterwards in Cheaters in the USA and in the UK touring production of  Love and Marriage and New York City. She had stepped away from acting for awhile but I've been trying to get her to come back. This titanic role is yet another step in that direction and will be a reminder to audiences of why we have all missed her so much.”


In a remarkable full circle moment, upon contacting Hunt regarding the role of Alice McBee, Heron learnt that she had in fact played Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth- to excellent reviews-  as a teenager in a high school production of Macbeth for Jamaica’s National Schools Drama Festival in Kingston.


“I shook my head when I heard that, because I approached her for McBee without knowing that she had played the Lady M role in Shakespeare’s original play at her alma mater, Queens High School in Jamaica. This to me is a case of something that’s simply meant to be."


Additional casting for McBee will be announced shortly. Tickets for the American Premiere  Staged Reading production will be available starting this Friday, May 3 at mcbeetheplay.eventbrite.com.


The Jamaica Performing Arts Center is located at 153-10 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica NY, 11432.


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