No matter where you were born, at some point almost everyone fantasized about the American Dream – at least once, especially since it was made popular on television and the big screen. Throughout time, America was seen as a safe haven and land of opportunity for immigrants, both from the developed and developing world. It was a window of hope for those who longed for a better quality of life for themselves and their families in fulfilment of their wildest dreams, passion, and purpose, which may not have always been easily attainable in their home countries.
Many who have made the journey to America over the decades have carved a path for themselves in the arts, business and virtually all spheres of personal and professional life. In the process, together with born Americans, immigrants have collectively contributed to the global economy and overall standard of living.
However, this ‘dream’ is not without challenges. The creators of the production Welcome To America: A Caribbean Musical thought that this struggle ought to be highlighted since no one really spoke about the price of success and how exactly the dream was won especially when viewed as “other” in a foreign country.
The musical was produced by Braata Productions featuring an award-winning creative team with book by Karl O’ Brian Williams, music by Andrew Clarke, Karl O’ Brian Williams, and Joel Edwards, lyrics by Andrew Clarke and Karl O’Brian Williams, and directed by Yudelka Heyer a native of the Dominican Republic.
They describe the production as ‘a universal story of hope and aspiration’ as it captures the journey of an undocumented Caribbean female – the talented and ambitious Sabrina Barnes. She leaves behind her home in Jamaica and traverses life’s hurdles to chase her own American Dream as she once dreamt.
Even with Sabrina’s big dreams and determination to become a star, she is jolted into reality when she is forced to face life’s harsh realities in her newly adopted country. During the production, she discovers that her island naiveté may put both her goals and her future in great jeopardy.
The musical employs original songs, along with established selections from the Caribbean Diaspora, enhanced with contemporary musical theater styling.
Award-winning singer, actor, and producer, Andrew Clarke plays the role of Elijah, Sabrina’s longtime friend and potential romantic interest who encounters his own obstacles in the pursuit of his American entertainment career.
Welcome To America premiered on April 20, 2017, and played for seven performances at The Milton Bassin Performing Arts Center on the campus of York College in Queens, New York through April 30, 2017.
The play is a must-see and described as a belly-laugh that elicits a cathartic mix of emotions to which anyone who has ever lived in another country can relate.
Welcome To America can be viewed on Saturday, 28th October 2017 at Cramton Auditorium, Howard University. For ticket info: (888) 200-7200 or visit www.caribbeanloyaltyrewards.com
By Carolyn K. Correia
Carolyn K. Correia is the author of Thinking out Loud, How To Find Yourself and Claim What’s Yours and she missed the boat on love. She is also a communications consultant, freelance writer, blogger and motivational speaker. Learn more here www.carolyncorreia.com or stay updated on Facebook –CarolynCorreiaAuthor.