By Margot Thomas
TWO CANADIAN expats are the co-authors of a new musical, with a title that will resonate with all who live here, or anywhere else: “PANAMÁ: The Musical”
They are hoping that it will put Panama on the map and become a feature of the local scene serving as a magnet for tourists as the Mousetrap has done in London. Agatha Christie’s famed murder story has been running there since 1952 when its first performance starred Richard Attenborough.
So what makes them think that a musical in Panama will attract a revolving tourist audience? “The name” says co-writer Rob Brown who penned the libretto with his artist /writer wife Yolanda Van Der Kolk taking the audience back in time to when radio was new fangled, and Chicago mobsters filled the headlines. Music and Lyrics are by Tara and Yolanda Van Der Kolk
The promotional theme will be: “You Haven’t Seen Panama Until You’ve Seen PANAMÁ: THE MUSICAL”
Brown, who played a key role in the creation of The Panama International Film Festival is planning an early 2017 springboard production in Toronto, whose citizens have displayed a voracious appetite for long running musical performances.
Meanwhile the couple, who live in Santa Clara, have been jetting to London, New York and Toronto meeting with script consultants, authors and producers as they honed the plot and music.
A beautiful American songwriter living in the Canal Zone has dreams of stardom on this new thing called radio. She is forced to leave the protection of the Zone when her poppa dies, leaving the family deeply in debt to an unscrupulous cabaret/brothel owner.
She must choose between going to New York with her Panamanian musician boyfriend to pursue her dream, or stay and save her younger sister from indentured service in the brothels of San Felipe
Hot Latin music and dance including The Charleston, The Lindy Hop and the Fox Trot and Bachata band on stage blend to create an explosion of sound and dance.
A Kickstarter campaign will be launch January 3 – February 3, 2017 to raise funds for professional music director and musicians to give the musical score a final pre-production polish.
Discussions are also underway with a leading director and producer of musicals in Panama about translating and presenting a Spanish-language version.
Rob and Yolanda will be at the Canadian Thanksgiving Celebration on Saturday October 8, at the Miramar Intercontinental to share the latest developments with guests.