Monday, June 22, 2009


This week will be another short note only, advertising a Bahamian musical production which will premiere tomorrow at the Dundas on Mackey Street - "Guanahani."

Below is a description of the piece that can be found on the Ministry of Culture's website, and I hope that next week I can add my own two cents to it. For now, let me encourage you to go and see it, too, not because I think it will be enlightening from a historical perspective (in fact, I fear the opposite), but because I anticipate it to be a mood lightener, and a great way to support Bahamian creative expression. Sadly, when I went to get my tickets today for tomorrow, I could still choose almost any seat in the house. So come out and support local talent.

“GUANAHANI” is an original Bahamian musical theatre production with whimsical lines, catchy tunes and great dance numbers that presents the unofficial, unauthorised, unexpurgated, unpublished, unprecedented, satirical, true untold story of Christopher Columbus’ supposed discovery of The Bahamas on behalf of the European world.

This all Bahamian production will be a tribute to two of the countries leading icons, Andrew R. Curry I and James J. Catalyn and will feature the talents of the members of the four groups inclusive of drama, music and dance.

James Catalyn and Friends, in collaboration with The Allegro Singers under the direction of Antoine C. Wallace, The Diocesan Chorale under the direction of Andrew R. Curry and the National Dance School with choreography by LeKeisha Bostwick, all under the stage direction of Omar Williams, will present Catalyn & Curry’s “Guanahani” at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, June 23rd through June 27th 2009 at 8:00 p.m. nightly.

History records that Columbus discovered The Bahamas and landed at San Salvador, (Guanahani), but does not record that Columbus was a bumbling idiot. Had he known how to get to the East Indies by a shorter route, then he wouldn’t have ended up in the West Indies, landing on the island of Guanahani in The Bahamas, claiming that he discovered America.

According to the Indians’ recollections of the discovery, their forefathers warned them of the things to come and how they would be sold to work in the pearl mines and be taken back to Spain to be paraded through the streets. But who believes in Indian folk tales? Incidentally, Columbus named the Amerindians he found in The Bahamas, Indians, because he didn’t know any better.

“Guanahani” tells the story as it is, or was, and sets the records straight. The musical is light, lively and entertaining and one will leave the theatre with a better understanding of the true, and up until now, untold and unabridged history of the discovery.

“Guanahani” was especially written in commemoration of the 1992 Quincentennial of Columbus’ discovery of the New World. Script and Lyrics are by James J. Catalyn, with Original Music by Andrew R. Curry I.

When the curtain goes up on Catalyn & Curry’s “Guanahani” at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, June 23rd through 27th, patrons of the theatre will be treated to the rare experience with the collaboration of four of The Bahamas’ premier groups, James Catalyn & Friends, the Allegro Singers, the Diocesan Chorale and the National Dance School, in a major, all Bahamian production.

With Book and Lyrics written by James J. Catalyn and with Music Score by Andrew R. Curry, I. “Guanahani” documents the unofficial, unauthorised, unexpurgated, unpublished, unprecedented, satirical, true untold story of Christopher Columbus’ supposed discovery of The Bahamas on behalf of the European world. The lines are whimsical, in true Catalyn style and the tunes are catchy as only Curry can compose them.

This pre-independence production will set the tone for this year’s Independence Celebrations and cause us to reflect and take another look at what truly happened in 1492, from another angle. Guanahani will bring better meaning to Independence.

Omar Williams, director of Guanahani commented that, “the first time I read the script for Guanahani, I knew it was magic. The story is wonderfully written and the music is toe-tappingly beautiful.”
Musical Director and artist extraordinaire, Antoine C. Wallace, Founder and Director of the Allegro Singers said that it is a great honour for him to direct the combined voices of the Allegro singers and the Diocesan Chorale in the music for this production. Mr. Curry is a mentor of Mr. Wallace and has helped to guide Mr. Wallace’s early musical career. Musical assistants are Mrs. Sonia Pinder and Mr. Kaylen Jervis. Mr. Stephen Albury serves as President of the Diocesan Chorale, a leading choral group founded by Mr. Curry.

Ms. Lekeisha Bostwick, Choreographer for the production, expressed her delight in the involvement of members of the National Dance School. Ms. Bostwick who has worked with Dance Artist, Ann Renkin at the University of Tampa and also the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, said that she is delighted to choreograph the dance sequences for Guanahani.

Veteran actor Neil Cleare, plays the bumbling Columbus, Rose Barrett plays Queen Isabella and Kayus Fernander plays the court jester, Page. The men who sailed with Columbus on this discovery voyage are played by Charles Bonamy, Dion Johnson, Jonathan Farrington, Arthur Johnson, Omar Williams and Ricardo Major. The Indian maidens whom they “discover” are played by Catharine Archer, Veronica Toppin, Jennifer Badoo-Wallace, Onike Archer, Shireen Hanna, Bianca Beneby, Sonia Pinder and Taneka Thompson.


Opening Night Gala, $30.00,
Regular performances, $20.00

The Box Office will open at the Dundas on Monday 15th June from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Telephones 393-3728/394-7179

Advanced ticket bookings may also be done at e-mail address:

Acklinsblue Companies/Acklins Airlines, Wildseeds Design and the Endowment of the Performing Arts are proud sponsors of this production.


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