By Margot Thomas
PUTTING PANAMA in the world’s musical spotlight is the ambition of two Canadian expats who will soon be named citizens of the country they have grown to love.
Yolanda Van Der Kolk and T Rob Brown, who hail from Toronto, a city with a long history of successful musical productions, have written a full length Broadway style show: Panamá: The Musical which will get a unique simultaneous kickstarter launch in three countries,and four locations on Sunday January 8,
It will give lovers of the musical genre the opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking initiative that will put Panama in front of more favorable world spotlights than it has enjoyed in recent months.
Set in The Panama Canal Zone and Casco Viejo in 1927, it is a love story about an American Zonian songwriter who falls in love with a Panamanian musician. They win a contest to record her songs in New York for a new thing called “radio"
She and her family are forced to leave The Zone when her Poppa dies, leaving the family heavily indebted to a local boite (cabaret/brothel), owner,
The boîte owner threatens her that if she leaves for New York, he will force her twelve year old sister to pay off the family debt working in his seedy den
The singer must decide to either follow her true love and dreams of radio stardom, or stay behind and save her little sister.
The musical is studded with catchy songs and dance routines reflecting an era of changing mores and fast living.
To make the musical dream come true, a Kickstarter (crowdfunding) campaign is launching Sunday January 8at 2 pm. The goal is to raise $20,000.
Four simultaneous parties have been organized for the launch - Toronto, Canada, Ft Meyer Beach, Florida, Picton Ontario and Coronado, Panama - all linked by Skype.
Participants get to watch the Kickstarter video,and listen to the show’s music for the first time, and Yolanda and Tara VAanDer Kolk co-writers of the music and lyrics will perform live via Skype.
If the production kickstarter achieves the $20,000 - the production is a go.
"This is an all-or-nothing proposition", says Brown. The way Kickstarter works is - if you don't reach the goal - you get zero, and all the pledges are cancelled.
We need everyone’s help in exceeding this goal. Please pledge your support.”
To view the Kickstarter campaign, go to ww.Kickstarter.com/panamathemusical
The campaign launches Sunday January 8 and runs until February 14 - Valentines Day.
The World Premiere will be in English at the Athenaeum Theatre in the City of Knowledge on February 1, 2018.
"We hope to attract the English-speaking tourists from the city, and from the beach resorts as well as visitors coming to The Miraflores Locks, said Brown
"This is our opportunity to show the world we are much more than just the Panama Papers” said Rob Brown, who also co-founded the Panama International Film Festival (iffpanama.org)
Our slogan is “you have not seen all of Panama until you have seen Panamá: The Musical.
“While not meant to be a historical show – with an initial all Panamanian cast it contains many typical local elements such as diablo sucios, diablo limpios, Congos from Colon, carnival costumes, polleras, as well as dances and music of Panama, mixed with the 1920’s US dances such as The Lindy Hop Charleston and The Fox Trot.
As an incentives for viewers they are offered not only the opportunity of helping kickstart a Panama initiative but a long list of exciting rewards leading up to red carpet treatment, VIP seats, and attendance at VIP receptions when the musical premiers in Panama and Toronto.
It is planned to donate 10% of the proceedings from the stage production to Panama children's charities
The rewards will be displayed from the Jan 8 presentation until Valentine’s Day when you will earn the undying love of the writing team and the team directors, producers and backers of Panama, The Musical.