Western News

Weston Haughton... the legend lives on

DAVID ELLIS

Thursday, November 06, 2008    

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Every year since 1983 when Cathy Levy was crowned Ms Jamaica World, Weston Haughton has travelled from Montego Bay - where he now resides - to coordinate the Ms Jamaica World coronation show in Kingston.

He does it all; grooming, staging, set decorating, wardrobe and emceeing if needs be, and at the end appears smiling and most composed.

Known to many as the "Silver Prince", a name he earned in the seventies from the full silver painted body suit he used to wear with the Miko Blanco dancers, he has travelled a colourful path to his present position as

Group Creative Director with Sandals International.

As a student at the Ardenne High school, Haughton's popularity derived from his athletic exploits. He along with teammates such as present day politician, Dr Fenton Ferguson, competed with the likes of Olympian Donald Quarrie at the Boys Athletic Championship. After high school, he signed on with the Eddie Thomas Dancers. His physical capability caught the attention of the Caribbean's leading limbo maestro, Miko Blanco, who was headline performer at the Sheraton Kingston. Blanco encouraged him to join his troupe where he could actually earn from his skill.

The Eddie Thomas Dancers was a hugely successful group in it's heyday, touring Canada, the USA and the Caribbean. In addition to dancing with the group, Haughton was also the lead male vocalist in the affiliated folk chorale.

His diverse involvement in the area of entertainment included modelling and costume design. Things were different then; Haughton modelled for the sheer fun of it. He recalls that the male models played second fiddle to their female counterparts and pioneers like Glen Case, Barry Moncrieffe and himself often relied on their own clothes for shows. The first year the Jamaica Fashion Model Competition was held, he won the Male fashion Model of the Year. And when the national Costume King and Queen Competition was launched, Haughton won the Costume King award with a Nancy Mclean creation called "Invitation to a Tangled Web". He and McLean, now Hotel Manager at Jamaica Pegasus, made for a formidable team, capturing the Costume King title over and over. One of Haughton's treasured costume king moment's was the night he modelled "Healer's Dream" a design centered on intuitive artist and revivalist, Malica 'Kapo' Reynolds. Staying authentic to the research, his head was wrapped in seven yards of material and the prophetic Kapo, predicting it would have been the overall winner, actually loaned him his rod for the occasion. The costume captured a number of sectional awards of course.

The year 1969 marked a definitive year in his life,

when he took on the role of "Reggae" in the Little Theatre Movement's annual pantomime, Moonshine Anancy.

Arising from that he and a core group of Jamaica's elite thespians, including Ruth HoShing, Fae Ellington, Oliver Samuels and Volier Johnson were to become the first graduates of the Jamaica school of Drama.

International experience was underscored during a lengthy period touring in Germany and performing to large crowds in cities such as Hamburg, with the Keith Foote lead One Love Jamaica showcase. As Artistic Director he was responsible for the standard of the show retaining its high quality throughout. During that period they had the distinction of opening for international recording stars such as "Boney M" and even being in neighbouring rooms to the iconic crooner Frank Sinatra. It was a rock-star - like experience, complete with huge venues, their own artiste residence and tour bus. Fans would shout "Jamaica" as security escorted them to their dressing rooms. During that European tour they also

visited Switzerland, but the cold weather influenced Haughton's decision to return to Jamaica.

Before taking up responsi-bilities as Group Creative Director for Sandals International, Haughton served as Entertainment Manager at the Boscobel Beach resort, Trelawny Beach Resort, Holiday Inn and Beaches Negril. Former hotel general manager, Jeff McKitty had such confidence in him that he requested Haughton to lead his entertainment pro-grammes at a number of hotels he was appointed General Manager.

Regarded for his ability to convert something really special out of very little, or 'Tun han mek fashion', so

to speak, he enjoys production staging and grooming

young talent.

And once the stage lights are switched on, the creative energy bubbles over, splashing joy and happiness on

those who work alongside him backstage as well as the audience.

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