Friday, April 12, 2024

Having Pretty big ideas


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Barbadian dancer and choregrapher Trevor Pretty is pretty confident: “This is my year”, he said. Trevor Pretty has pretty big ideas: “I want to see Barbados’ name in lights on Broadway.” Trevor Pretty will be pretty busy for the next three weeks: “Rehearsals for the show and meetings are ongoing every day. This musical encompasses my dreams and all the girls’ dreams.”Pretty has taken on a pretty big assignment. He is the writer, director, producer, choreographer, wardrobe director and wearer of many other hats of the musical Love Life And Happy Endings based on the reality stories of five friends, completed with a cast of girls from London, England, a Bajan whose family is well-known in the local dance circles, and a dancer/actress who was born in Jamaica but is now based in London. The girls were chosen from casting calls that were advertised with flyers and various Internet postings. Vigorous workshops were held and the hopefuls were narrowed down from 200 to just ten. “The girls are all required to sing, dance and act. And most of them are professionals in those fields”, said Pretty. It didn’t hurt that the musical was being held in Barbados – an excellent opportunity, the girls said, to come to the “beautiful island of  Barbados” – a first-time visit for the girls. “The musical is full of emotional undertones”, said Pretty, who went on to explain that the idea came from things that happened to people he knew. “September 11 happened. I had a friend who was getting married and was having second thoughts. I went to the Micheal Jackson auditions and he died before the show could go on, so the musical is basically a detailed and documented real story.”On top of that, the Canadian artiste who wrote the original music for the show died. To make matters worse, the cast of ten was cut to nine when one of the girls, while rehearsing in Barbados, complained of feeling ill and went back home only to die soon after: “The cast has become stronger for this and made the stories more real. This musical is for both [the ones] we lost,” said Pretty, with the girls all agreeing somberly.Pretty added that the cast was dynamic one and that last year was a hectic schedule. It took three months to write the first draft, and getting to the final script took seven rewrites, but Pretty is quite happy with the final result and wants to do a Caribbean and South America tour with the musical. “I want to take the musical to the Caribbean islands. My dad is from Trinidad, so I want to go there. Plus I want to see how different audiences receive it.Pretty is also thinking of travelling to Ethiopia with the musical. He was there in 2007 doing choreography for a production. Pretty has been dancing since age five and won his first competition two years later in Martinique. By age 16 he was dancing professionally and being handsomely remunerated for his smooth moves. He honed his skills and technique at the renowned Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and did advanced training at the Juilliard School in New York that helps talented students harness their dedication to become communicative artistes. He even went to Jamaica to the famed Edna Manley School of the Visual Arts.“I have done choreography for Rihanna (he grew up two houses from hers in Westbury) and United States singer Mya. I did style and choregraphy for Toni Norville and travelled extensively with her. She was a big influence to me.”Pretty is based primarily in New York City but calls it “a frustrating city, so right now I am trying to create my own piece of space, create my own legend,” he said emphatically.   He is still working the kinks out of the musical and wants the production to be picked up as a TV show. For now he has gotten a chance to bring the musical to Miami in October. So far things are going pretty good and Pretty has found some real-life Bajan heroes“I want to say that I am surprised at the people who have helped me out so far. From Ms Gloria the fish vendor to Trevor the burger man, Steven the taxi driver who gives us free trips to Denise Nichols the travel agent to Chetwyn Stewart who have shown the girls the culture of the island, to Brita Pollard who made my cast feel right at home with her hospitality”.But Trevor Pretty isn’t finished yet. He has one more thing up his sleeve. He is also working on a docudrama called From Barbados To Broadway. Maybe soon we will see his name in neon lights on Broadway.


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