A dream come true!
February 1, 2018
Opening night address by T. Rob Brown, Executive Producer and Co-Writer of Panamá: The Musical!
Where Do You Find Talent? In Our Case – it's All in the Family
For our story, scroll to the bottom and work up. Meet the many great people and organizations that have helped us along the way!
November, 2017: Renowned Choreographer Joins Our Team
Panamanian dancer and choreographer, Rigoberto Rodríguez, has worked with national and international stars, and was selected as choreographer for big productions like the Gala of the Panama Canal Reversal, directed by maestro Bruce Queen.
Thanks, Rigo, for joining our team!
October, 2017: Internationally Acclaimed Director Signs On
Wow… MONALISA ARIAS, Artistic Director of The Space, a Cultural Center located in the heart of El Carmen; director Seussical: The Musical for the US Embassy and most recently director of Cats, is now our Director for Panamá: The Musical!
WE ARE SO PROUD TO HAVE HER ON OUR TEAM!
Auditions & Press Conference
Oct. 8 & 9, 2017
As you will see when you watch the video, the auditions were so much fun and also brought out a few of Panama's amazingly talented actors, singers and dancers. On Oct. 9th, our first big press conference was held at the AC Hotel Panama City by Marriot.
ROTARY CLUBS of PANAMA
Calling all Rotary Clubs ...
Your club can earn fifteen percent (15%) of all the tickets you sell for PANAMÁ: THE MUSICAL.
Simply sign up as a certified ticket seller, promote the show, and sell tickets. Your club will receive 15% of those proceeds for your children's charity projects.
To become a certified ticket seller: firstname.lastname@example.org
To sell even more tickets: post a notice to your club website, on Facebook and mention at every meeting, arrange buses to the show, etc.!!!
TICKETS GO ON SALE Nov 1, 2017
October, 2017: Ron Abuelo Signs On as Major Sponsor
Fantastic news! The world's best rum – and Panama's very own – Ron Abuelo has come aboard as one of our major sponsors. But wait, we're also talking about sponsorship of the Toronto production of Panamá: The Musical AND a possible Canadian National Tour, too!!!
Dino Nugent, Musical Director
September 2017: Musical Director Signs On
Dino Nugent is officially our Music Director! He is a professor at the National Institute of Music and participated as a pianist, arranger and co-producer on the grammy-winning CD "La Rosa de Los Vientos,” by singer-songwriter Rubén Blades. MORE ABOUT DINO
September 2017: Another Corporate Partner
THE VISITOR/ EL VISITANTE – This premier bilingual newspaper has signed on as a media partner for PANAMÁ: THE MUSICAL. This is particularly important as it's the NUMBER ONE newspaper that reaches our primary market – 750,000 tourists coming to Panama every year!
August 15-18 2017: We Took the City by Storm
We had a real blast touring around the city, waving flags and hanging banners all over the place. We tried, but couldn't even get that Palace Guard to so much as blink!
PANAMÁ: THE MUSICAL was one of 20 musicals selected out of 304 submissions to be performed by a professional cast at the London West End New Musical Festival: FromPage2Stage at the Other Palace Theater (owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The audience included producers, directors and talent agents from around the world.
London loved us!
August 14, 2017: The Other Palace Theatre
The reaction to our song at London's West End New Musical Festival: FromPage2Stage was very positive.
The song WANTED, written by Yolanda van der Kolk-Brown and Tara Van der Kolk was enthusiastically received and reviewed: DARLING Magazine UK called it “riveting and moving."
We also had very productive meetings with both the Panamanian and Canadian Embassies in London. There is strong interest and pledges of support and assistance in attracting a West End producer!!!
London was awesome!
August 14, 2017: The Other Palace Theatre
Panamá: The Musical - opened the Page-2-Stage New Musical Festival in London on August 14, 2017. A professional cast from London performed our song “WANTED."
"Based on the audience reaction–I’d say our song was certainly one of the most – if not THE most – popular of the night! The performers spoke to Tara and Yolanda afterwards, telling them they loved their song. Today, I am one very proud co-writer/co-producer," said Rob Brown
(NOTE: banner in picture was added via Photoshop)
Robert McQueen, Dramaturge
August 2017: Another Legend Joins the Team
World-famous actor/director/producer/dramaturge and teacher, Robert McQueen, has joined our team. His credits include Associate Director of Mamma Mia on Broadway and its national tour across the US. A Canadian by birth, Robert’s expertise is the development of new musicals. He has worked extensively on Broadway, across Canada, Mexico City, Brazil, and Phnom Penh.
A Shoutout to Our Canadian Musical Theatre Legend
David Warrack – the most produced writer of Musical Theatre in Canada, with over 70 musicals to his credit, including some of the longest running shows in Canadian Theatre history – is our co-producer. Thank you, David, couldn't do this without you!
First Table Reading in Panama
July 2017: Aaron Zebede Helps Out
On July 15th we had our first table read in Panama - organized by Aaron Zebede, one of Panama's top directors. It was so much fun to hear Panamanians singing our songs with a Panamanian accent instead of us white folks trying to sound Latin!!! LOL
We also stayed at the AC Hotel Marriott (Our Official Hotel) for the first time. When you stay there - try the tapas appetisers - they are unique and wonderful. And their burger is FANTASTIC!!! Beds were perfect and breakfast was varied and healthy.
NAC Meeting a Success!
July 2017: National Arts Centre Expresses Interest
We had a wonderful meeting in Ottawa with the National Arts Centre. They expressed great interest in our musical as it is a new work and created by three Canadians. The NAC celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2019. There are more details to share, but unfortunately we are not at liberty to do so yet.
Pictured L-R: Carla Barrios, Cultural Attaché Panamanian Embassy in Ottawa, T Rob Brown, Daphne Burt (NAC) and Yolanda van der Kolk-Brown.
July 2017: Copa Becomes Official Airline Sponsor
We were really flyin' high after Copa Airlines committed their support for our project. They are donating airline tickets to bring our key personnel from Canada to Panama for rehearsals and performances.
SPECIAL RATES: Copa has created special discounts on flights for anyone flying to Panama to attend the show’s opening – from any Copa destination (Canada and US only).
AC HOTEL Marriot
The perfect place to stay!
Stay in the heart of all the excitement: The press conference, the red carpet, the gala after-party with the cast; mingle with the stars! AC HOTEL, where the stars will stay, is Panama’s newest boutique hotel and Panamá: The Musical’s official hotel. They are offering an incredible deal, book your rooms now!
Offer valid til December 15th, 2017
July 2017: ATP Marketing Grant CONFIRMED!
The Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) Minister, Gustavo Him, announced a $50,000 grant towards the marketing of Panamá: The Musical. "We are excited to have a major show that has been created here and performed in English. This is a very underserviced area of our tourism and entertainment sector," said Minister Him.
Become a ticket selling agent
July 2017: Ticket Sellers Lining Up
We have a growing list certified ticket sellers: AC HOTELS Marriott, Barefoot Tours and all Rotary Clubs in Panama are official ticket sellers. CONTACT US if your company is interested in selling our tickets.
David Warrack Visits Panama
June 2017: Planning the Toronto Production
David Warrack, our partner, came to Panama to see the theatre and meet Aaron Zebede. Yolanda and I then spent the latter part of June to mid-July in Toronto making plans for the North American Premiere on Nov 3, 2018.
On the Air!
May 2017: Famous DJ on Board
Gerry D of 89.3 Cool FM will be promoting our CALL IN TO WIN radio contest. To win, listeners need to SPOT THE BALLOON (a 10 foot helium balloon will be making surprise appearances all over Panama). If they see the balloon, they call in to win a free PANAMÁ: THE MUSICAL t-shirt or two free tickets. Two lucky listeners will win a trip for two to Toronto on COPA Airlines.
AC Hotel, Panamá
May 2017: Press Conference Announced
AC HOTEL will be the site of Panamá: The Musical's press conference on Wednesday October 25 at 10 AM.
Mayor José Blandon
May 2017: Expo Tourism Surprise
His Honor Mayor Blandon of Panama City, dropped by to wish us luck and pledge his support for Panamá: The Musical. Pictured with Mayor Blandon is Rob Brown, Mayor Blandon, Yolanda van der Kolk-Brown and Tina Stahl.
More Media Partners Sign On
April 2017: Sponsors Bangin' Down Our Doors
Panamá: The Musical has been attracting media attention and along with it, sponsors committed to promoting what they believe will become a major tourist attraction in Panama. Read stories
April 2017: Contract Signed with Dates
Panamá: The Musical – World Premiere date is set for Feb 1, 2018, at the Ateneo Theater. This historic 1935 700-seat theatre is located in the former Panama Canal Zone, across from Miraflores Visitors Centre in the Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge).
At this Point, Excitement was Building Fast!
Our KICKSTARTER video really kicked things up a notch – and we exceeded our original goal!
Kickstarter Campaign Video
January - February 2017: Kickstarter Campaign
We kicked off our Kickstarter campaign with a four-city party connected via Skype. What a hoot! We ultimately exceeded our goal of $20,000 by reaching 127% of total. We shot a video at the Regent Theatre in Picton, Ontario that turned out nicely (thanks to Troy Darc) and helped us in our success.
January 2017: Medley of Songs
We put together a medley of our favourite songs as part of our Kickstarter campaign. Well, the songs must helped us as we busted through our original goal of $20K by almost an additional $6K! Have a listen...
Tweaking the Songs
July 2016: More Tweaks, More Recordings
Bruce Johnson did the recording and arranged for Eddie Patterson to provide background instrumentation to the songs. Bruce also composed and recorded the song Battle of the Diablos, a percussion piece for the show. Pictured L to R, Tara Van der Kolk and Yolanda van der Kolk-Brown.
October 2015: Second Canadian Table Read
Marilyn Lawrie helped stage our second table read in Picton, Ontario. It went smoothly, but, of course, led to more rewrites! Yo and I contemplated changing our titles from “Writers” to REWRITERS" LOL. We recorded audio of this read, which was helpful later in making story changes.
August 2015: First Canadian Table Read
Friends like Deb Tosh have been so supportive. She helped us organize our very first table read in Belleville, Ontario, at the Pinnacle Playhouse. This session was a real eye-opener which, naturally, caused a major rewrite to begin the next day.
August 2015: Story Editor Hired
We hired long-time colleague Madonna McManus as our story and creative consultant for the rewrites. Madonna and Rob had worked together many times including a feature film screenplay and numerous theatrical scripts.
October 2014: NYC Producer Consults on Script
Eric Webb of Davenport Theatricals selected the "Panama" show to be part of a NYC Reader’s Group. Following the second round of script consulting, plus the NYC writers table read, the show's name was changed again. This time to Panamá: The Musical.
In the Beginning...
New title for play
August 2013: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival Research Mission
Our project was becoming larger in scope on almost a daily basis, so we hired Katy Lipson, a UK Producer, to consult with us on how to proceed. On our Edinburgh research mission, we saw 35 musicals in 25 days. Exhausting, but totally inspiring. After gauging reaction to the show's title in Edinburgh, we changed it to Panamá: A Love Story.
Musicians get involved
February 2012: Music Goes to Next Level
We approached our friend Bruce Johnson to produce the demo recordings for our play. Bruce enlisted Juno Award winner Eddie Patterson to put music to the arrangements and great results followed.
Tara Van der Kolk
January 2012: Joins the Team
Tara Van der Kolk, our niece, came to visit in Panama and began writing songs with Yolanda, establishing herself as co-writer, music and lyrics for Panamá: The Musical.
January 2012: IFF Panamá was Created
Rob believes that his greatest contribution was selecting Pituka Heilbron and Diana Sanchez to run the Festival, and his friend Yasser Williams to chair the board. They have done a spectacular job building IFF Panama into one of the most important film festivals in Latin America.
December 2011: PaCT is Incorporated
For PaCT, our community theatre group (Panama and Coclé Theater) we wrote and presented murder mystery dinner theater shows in the outdoor space at Picasso’s Restaurant in Coronado, Panama. Back then, Yolanda started a script called Lucky 13 which eventually would be called Panamá: The Musical.
Panamá, perfect place to retire
December 2007: The Epic Journey Begins
Like most Canadians, Rob and Yolanda were searching for the best place in the world to retire. They packed up their van and hit the road, along with their two dogs. Taking over a month to explore, they stopped at 26 retirement destinations along the way and reported it all on their blog: www.retirementdetectives.com. One by one they crossed these other retirement destinations off their list for various reasons. Then they arrived in Panama on Christmas Eve 2007. Within three days they had purchased a home and have been living in Panama ever since.
They have passed their citizenship exams and are waiting to be sworn in as Panamanian citizens.