National Comedy Center Announces Star-Studded Lineup for Grand Opening

April 11, 2018

Lily Tomlin, Amy Schumer, Dan Aykroyd will help celebrate the opening of the National Comedy Center.

Lily Tomlin, Amy Schumer, Dan Aykroyd will help celebrate the opening of the National Comedy Center.

The National Comedy Center just announced that it will celebrate its grand opening with appearances by Amy Schumer, Lily Tomlin, Saturday Night Live original season alumni including Dan Aykroyd and more, coinciding with the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, August 1-5 in Jamestown, New York.

As featured on the cover of this month's InPark Magazine, the 37,000-square-foot National Comedy Center visitor experience includes more than 50 immersive and interactive exhibits that tell the story of comedy from its origins through the present. It is the first non-profit cultural institution and national-scale attraction dedicated to the art of comedy.

JRA is providing planning, exhibit design, graphic design, executive media production, art direction, and project management for this blockbuster attraction, with fabrication by Adirondack Studios, AV integration by Electrosonic, media production by Cortina Productions, and exhibit lighting design by Abernathy Lighting Design

The opening celebration will feature more than 50 events and 40 artists that include the innovators, creators, and legends of comedy. 

“Each of these artists has played a significant role in shaping and redefining comedy as we know it today. From sketch to stand-up to TV to film, the landscape has been forever changed due to the creativity and, frankly, bravery, of Lily Tomlin and Amy Schumer. Laraine Newman, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris and Alan Zweibel challenged the nation’s sensibilities about comedy in what they brought to air in 1975, introducing what became one of very few cultural phenomena to endure more than four decades,” said National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson.

“Offering four brilliant minds from the show that broke the late night television mold is not only a glimpse into the creation of Saturday Night Live but also a sampling of the National Comedy Center‘s core mission to share the story of comedy,” notes Malachi Livermore, Director of Operations and Programming for the National Comedy Center.

In a special press briefing at the site on Friday, March 30, United States Senator Charles Schumer announced his push for a congressional designation for the Center. The new designation would officially make the National Comedy Center the nation’s cultural institution dedicated to the art of comedy, recognizing it as the only institution of its kind with the mission of preserving, protecting, and showcasing the art of comedy and its role in our culture.

The National Comedy Center also operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, and for the last 25 years has produced the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival with performers including Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Lewis Black, Trevor Noah, Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone, Nick Offerman, Ray Romano, Bob Newhart, The Smothers Brothers and more than 100 other comedic artists.

Located in Jamestown, a city in Chautauqua County and Western New York, the National Comedy Center is in the region of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

For more information on the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and the National Comedy Center opening, please visit www.comedycenter.org. For media inquiries, email Clara Rice, JRA Director of Communications, at crice@jackrouse.com.

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JRA Providing Planning, Design, Project Management for Lionsgate Movie World

March 07, 2018

JRA Birdseye Rendering for Lionsgate Movie World

JRA Birdseye Rendering for Lionsgate Movie World

As reported in the Los Angeles Times and Orlando Weekly, and in partnership with Landing International Development, Lionsgate is developing Lionsgate Movie World, its first branded outdoor theme park. Located in Jeju, South Korea, the theme park will feature six immersive zones based on the studio's biggest film franchises, making guests feel as if they've stepped into the universe of these blockbuster films. JRA is honored to be providing planning, design, and project management for this destination attraction.

Lionsgate Movie World will be the centerpiece of Jeju Shinhwa World, a new resort destination on Jeju Island. Construction on the theme park is expected to begin this year for a 2020 opening, marking Korea's first foray into the international theme park business. Lionsgate Movie World will also be the first Korean theme park built exlusively around global films.

Lionsgate Movie World will be set on 1.3 million square feet, representing the studio’s largest destination to date amongst a global portfolio of location based entertainment attractions in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

The themed zones will include The World of the Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga, Saw, Cabin in the Woods, Divergent, and Now You See Me. Each zone will feature a variety of rides, attractions and environments, as well as themed restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and entertainment performances.

Jeju Shinhwa World is a 2.5 million-square-foot resort that currently houses Shinhwa Theme Park, the YG Republique K-pop entertainment venue, several high-end resort hotels, retail, restaurants, gaming, and residential living. Future plans include a water park and additional accommodations.

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JRA and Appleton Estate Serve Up a Mouthwatering Rum Attraction

January 23, 2018


A journey along the twisting roads of Jamaica's wild and beautiful South Coast brings you to a dramatic landscape in shifting tones of green. Waving stalks of cane spread like a blanket under the craggy hills of the famed Cockpit Country. It already feels as though you've been transported to another time.

This is the Nassau Valley, home of the renowned Appleton Estate - Jamaica's oldest sugar estate and rum producer in continuous production, with its origins stretching back to 1749. A voyage into the captivating history of this amazing place and its incredible rums awaits. 

Thirty years after the opening of Appleton Estate's original visitor center in 1988, the attraction has recently received a dramatic, $7.2 million facelift that was planned, designed and realized in partnership with JRA over a six-year period. Reborn as the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience, the attraction, which is four times the size of the original visitor center, features tasting rooms, an expansive outdoor tour, a restaurant,lounge, jerk pit, and theatre. The new moniker pays homage to J. Wray & Nephew's master blender, Joy Spence - the first woman in the spirits industry to hold that title.

Upon arrival at the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience, visitors receive a warm greeting and are lead into the Welcome Centre, a luxurious fusion of rustic wood and contemporary style. Guests are treated to a complimentary cocktail at the Welcome Bar: a soothing blend of Appleton Estate Signature Blend rum and ginger beer aptly named the Stormy Valley.

From here, a knowledgeable tour guide carries visitors along a path back in time.


The tour begins in the elegant in-house theatre, with a brief video, which offers an engaging window into the history of rum and the Appleton Estate, whetting the appetite to learn more.

Following a path through the beautifully landscaped grounds, tour-goers continue their journey through history, starting in the 1600s with a glimpse at how juice was once extracted from sugar cane.

Visitors then pass through a building made from marrying vat wood, well over 150 years old, housing various fascinating artifacts that showcase the Appleton Estate's history, before sampling the delicious rum punch found only at the Estate.

The guide deftly leads guests through more interesting stops, explaining about the cane grown on the Estate, and how the water used in the rum-making process is filtered through the limestone hills of the Cockpit Country.

Visitors learn about the sugar production process and how we move from cane to cup, producing some of the finest rum in the world. The tour is a sensory experience; guests taste succulent sugar cane and have a chance to extract its juice themselves using a 17th-century method. A refreshing glass of chilled sugar cane juice is followed by a sampling of wet sugar (molasses and sugar crystals).

After seeing a panoramic view of the stunning Nassau Valley from an observation tower, visitors move on to explore the processes of fermentation and distillation. In the distillery, they discover the traditional distillation method in use since 1749 using copper pot stills unique to the Estate, giving their rums its distinctive character. The journey of discovery moves into one of the Estate's ageing houses, where rums age to perfection in oak barrels. Here tour-goers learn about the Appleton Estate Jamaica Independence Reserve, a 50-year-aged rum of which only 800 bottles were made, and the Prime Ministers' Reserve, which will be available in 2062!


The tour concludes in the Tasting Rooms, where visitors sample three exquisite premium Appleton Estate blends - Signature Blend, Reserve Blend, and Rare Blend 12-Year-Old - and learn how to critically analyse rums.

Following the tour, lunch is available at the inviting Black River Lounge, an earthy yet sophisticated space. Delicious Jamaican dishes are prepared with finesse by the chef using locally sourced ingredients. Of course, there are a variety of delectable rum cocktails to be savored.


As they prepare to leave, phones and cameras brimming with enviable selfies and group shots in front of the many picture-perfect spots, visitors pass through the gift shop, where Appleton Estate Jamaica rums and merchandise are available for purchase.


Once back outside, a stop at the Estate's community vendor area is the perfect way to round out an amazing visit. Here guests will have the opportunity to purchase fruits, spices and some craft items from talented local farmers and artisans, ensuring that they leave the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience with not only a greater appreciation for Appleton Estate Jamaica Rums, but for the warmth and flavor of the heart of Jamaica.

Videos courtesy J. Wray & Nephew, Ltd.

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Photo Gallery: A Spirited Celebration of the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience

January 23, 2018

J. Wray & Nephew Ltd. served up a party to celebrate the official opening of the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience (JS-AERE) in picturesque Siloah, Jamaica. Named for Appleton Estate’s Master Blender, the first woman in the world to hold that title, the newly renovated attraction welcomed over 400 guests to its opening party, including government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, local celebrities and influencers, as well as international and local media.

Here's a look at the festivities:

What would a party be without music? From the opening remarks to the tour to the tasting, visitors were taken on a multi-sensory adventure - hearing, seeing, feeling, and tasting the essence of the Appleton Estate experience while being exposed to the complexity and sophistication that is embodied by the brand.

Serving as Master of Ceremonies for the celebration was Fae Ellington, Jamaican lecturer and media personality best known for her 10-year stint as host of the JBC television series, "Morning Time".

Chairman of J. Wray & Nephew Limited, Clement "Jimmy" Lawrence, credited JRA with bringing the warmth of the brand to life: "Campari Group’s vision to expand and indeed upgrade the home of Appleton resulted in an investment of US$ 7.2 Million Dollars being poured into the project. The new JS-AERE will allow visitors to feel and taste the essence of Appleton whilst learning about the complexity and sophistication of rum. The project is truly a testament of what happens when Jamaican talent partners with international know-how, We are pleased with JRA's interpretation of our concept."

Master Blender at J. Wray & Nephew Limited, Dr. Joy Spence (right), poses for a snapshot with the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism. Bartlett has called JS-AERE a "game changer for tourism" along the south coast of Jamaica. The attraction expects to quadruple its visitors to an astounding 200,000 annually.

Open for business! Participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony is the woman of the moment, Dr. Joy Spence, as well as, from left: Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, His Excellency, Amanda Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to Jamaica, Luca Garavoglia, Chairman of the Campari Group, Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group, and Chairman of J. Wray & Nephew Limited, Clement “Jimmy” Lawrence.

Guests enjoy a complimentary "Stormy Valley" (rum and ginger beer cocktail) in the new welcome theatre at the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience.

Raising their glasses at the official opening of the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience are from left: Chairman of J. Wray & Nephew Limited, Clement “Jimmy” Lawrence, the Hon. Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance, the Hon. Fayval Williams, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance & Public Service, Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group, Debbian Spence-Minott, Senior Manager for the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience & JWN Academy, His Excellency, Amanda Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to Jamaica, Luca Garavoglia, Chairman of the Campari Group, and the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism. 

So there you have it - an opening celebration that really shook things up. J. Wray & Nephew, Ltd., The Campari Group, and JRA welcome you to The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience, a truly captivating historical journey from cane to cup. Cheers!

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Blending with Joy: Meet the Name Behind Appleton Estate's New Rum Experience

January 22, 2018

Joy Spence, Appleton Estate Rum Master Blender

Joy Spence, Appleton Estate Rum Master Blender

So why is the attraction named the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience?

Appleton Estate’s Master Blender, Dr. Joy Spence, has the distinction of being the first woman to hold the position of Master Blender in the spirits industry. In this role, Joy is responsible for ensuring the quality and consistency of existing blends — from distillation through maturation, blending and bottling, as well as developing new blends. Her skill and passion for her craft, and her wonderfully warm and spirited personality, shine through in every bottle of Appleton Estate rum.

The Journey to the Top

Joy fell in love with chemistry at age 13, and at that time, she set her mind on a career as a scientist. After high school, she attended the University of the West Indies and graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science Degree, First Class Honors. After graduation, Joy spent some years teaching chemistry, before moving to England to pursue a Master of Science degree in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Loughborough. Joy graduated with Honours and, in fact, her final exams score were the highest ever achieved by a student at Loughborough, a record that still stands today.

After graduating from Loughborough, Joy returned to Jamaica and to teaching. In 1979, she left academia for the private sector and two years later joined J. Wray & Nephew Limited as the Chief Chemist. As the Chief Chemist, Joy had the opportunity to work closely with the then Master Blender, Owen Tulloch, and this apprenticeship sparked a passion for the art of creating rum. Owen soon discovered that, in addition to being a brilliant chemist, Joy also had a considerable organoleptic talent (the ability to detect, identify and differentiate between aromas), and under his expert guidance, Joy extended her knowledge of the science of the rum- making process to include the artistic side as well.

Creating rum provides Joy with the perfect balance of art and science. She says that in rum-making, these two disciplines are so closely intertwined that it is difficult to pinpoint where the science stops and the art begins.

The Creator of Fine Rums and Spirits

Joy has created many rums for the company, including Appleton Estate Reserve Blend and Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12-Year-Old. She also created three Limited Edition rums: Appleton Estate 30-Year-Old Jamaica Rum; the Appleton Estate 250th Anniversary Blend, which was created to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Appleton Estate; and Jamaica Independence Reserve, a 50-year-old minimum age rum that was created to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence.

 

What It Takes

According to Joy, to be a good blender, you must

  1. Be a sensory expert
  2. Have an artistic and creative air
  3. Have a good understanding of the chemistry of the process
  4. Have a passion for the art and pay attention to the details.

“To create a new rum, you first identify the style of rum you want," Says Spence. "You then look at the stocks of rum that are available to you, bearing in mind the compatibility of the different marques [styles], how they’ll react when they’re blended together, and the chemistry profile of the marques. Once you have done this, you decide on the best artistic combination of the marques.”

A Celebrated Career

  • In 2005, Joy was honoured by the Government of Jamaica, when she was awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer for her service to industry. The Order was conferred on her at the Annual National Honours and Awards Ceremony held in Jamaica.
  • In 2011 Joy received the Rum Experience Pioneer’s Award for outstanding rum achievement at the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.
  • In September 2012 Joy received an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the University of Loughborough in recognition of her contribution to the distilled spirits industry and the advancement of women in the eld. In November 2012, Joy also received a honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the University of the West Indies.
  • In 2014, she was honored by the International Spirits Challenge who presented her with the “Outstanding Contribution” Award.
  • In 2016, she was named the Most Influential Rum Blender of the last 10 Years at the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.
  • In 2017, Joy was awarded the honor of the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD) by the Government of Jamaica in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of Jamaica’s rum industry and Brand Jamaica globally. 

Congratulations to Joy Spence, J. Wray & Nephew, Campari Group, and all those who helped make the Joy Spence Appleton Rum Experience possible. Cheers!

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