Garth Fagan JCA Trailblazer of the Year Awardee

For many, Garth Fagan is synonymous with “The Lion King” which has gained international acclaim worldwide. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The source of his good spirits is the announcement in the latter part of 2014 that “The Lion King,” which opened in 1997 and is still running on Broadway, has become the most successful work of entertainment in history, surpassing $6.2 billion in ticket sales from New York, national tour and international productions.”

Despite his numerous successes, Mr. Fagan does not shy away from is roots incorporating various traditional forms from the Caribbean as was seen in his latest production of “The Lighthouse/Lightning Rod” that toured Los Angeles recently. The name of the production tells you that Mr. Fagan is makes no bones about his Jamaican heritage. As if you were at a port or seaside town in Jamaica, Mr. Fagan paints the perfect picture explaining that “a lighthouse brings ships home safely, and lightning rods come when they want to, irrespective of what you’re doing.”

Mr. Fagan’s work has not gone unnoticed and the Jamaica Cultural Alliance (JCA) seized the opportunity to recognize his accomplishment, for setting a high standard and blazing a trail in Caribbean culture and history. The Order of distinction awardee was very proud of the recognition and beam that “it is always great to be recognized and even better when it’s done by your own – “I’ll place this award on my mantle right next to my Tonys”, he continued. Other dignitaries on hand to witness the presentation were Debbie Allen, Robert Guillaume and Wren T. Brown, actor and Founder/ Producer of the Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT)

Asked if he sees retirement any time soon the 74 year old Mr. Fagan whose troupe has toured around the world — except Antarctica, replied — “zero plans to retire. Lord, no. I love the work, I love my dancers, I love choreography, and I always set myself new challenges and come up with new ideas. What would I retire to?”


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