Gymnast Annalise Newman-Achee is linked to a growing number of far-flung locales and accomplishments, and the Trinidad-rooted athlete’s list of impressive successes continues to grow.
The talented 17-year-old Manhattan-born, Brooklyn-raised high school senior teenager now lives in New Jersey. A gymnastic prodigy since the age of two, she’s been competing for a New Jersey-based gymnastics team lately, has represented in Trinidad and Tobago internationally for two years, and is bound for the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), which has one of America’s top-ranked women’s gymnastics team, when she graduates from high school this summer.
She’s amassed lots of international experience, but have the 2024 Paris Olympic Games crossed her mind? “Yeah, that’s the goal,” said the A-average student athlete.
Family supporting the gymnast includes her father Lyndon Achee — a veteran steelpan musician who works for the New School in Manhattan — and her uncle David Achee — a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey supervisor, and a part-time musician. The pair have composed music to accompany Newman-Achee’s floor routines during her U.S. and international competitions. The latest tune from her “dynamic duo” is “Tigress,” named for Newman-Achee’s “Tiger” nickname, and her Instagram handle, tiger_annalise.
And there may be more songs down the road for this “dynamic duo” to create, because Newman-Achee’s 13-year-old younger sister, Lirit, is training and has reached Level 10 in her age group.
Currently Level 10 gymnast in her age category, Newman-Achee competes for the Jersey-based Gymland/Arena Gymnastics team, which enters her in competitions across the country. It was Arena Gymnastics coach Ann Kolasa who awakened the dormant idea that the teen gymnast could compete internationally for Trinidad and Tobago, her father’s homeland.
Since being approved by the twin-island nation, Newman-Achee has represented Trinidad and Tobago in the 2021 and 2022 Pan American Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, and the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, England last fall. A host of colleges and universities took notice, before UCB won out — awarding her a full athletic scholarship. But UCB’s academics were her main attraction.
“I’m really excited to go there too. Because academics always comes before athletics. Their academics are amazing. So, I’m able to go to a really good, athletic — as well as academic — school, which is just perfect,” said Newman-Achee, who wants to be a pre-med major.
Newman-Achee has also made a deal to wear Australia-based Sylvia Pichler “Sylvia P” brand leotards in international competitions.
Manhattan’s Public Theater wants New Yorkers to know that it is proudly presenting a musical adaptation of “The Harder They Come” — the iconic 1972 music-filled film that transfixed Americans on reggae and life in Jamaica. The play runs through April 2.
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The New York area’s Caribbean communities are attending the production through special outreach efforts. “Members of the Caribbean communities in NYC have already been able to buy discounted tickets,” said Public Theater spokeswoman Jana Zschoche.
Veteran New York area Caribbean community leaders Sharon Gordon and Malika-Lee Whitney, and Savannah, Ga.-based Sandra Daley, were enlisted as “cultural ambassadors” for the production. After Sunday’s 8 p.m. performance, Gordon and Whitney will moderate a “community night” event that includes a question-and-answer session with the play’s cast.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks has brought the life and times of “Ivan,” a struggling Jamaican musician, to the Public’s Newman Theater with a few new tunes added to the tried-and-true reggae songs from the 51-year-old film, written by Perry Henzell and Trevor D. Rhone.
The Public Theater’s production features memorable tunes from the film, including the soulful “Rivers of Babylon,” the popular rocksteady sound of “Draw Your Brakes (Stop That Train),” and Jimmy Cliff ‘s upbeat “You Can Get It if You Really Want It,” and his title track, “The Harder They Come.”
The Public Theater — the birthplace of Broadway productions over the decades — is at 425 Lafayette St. (at Astor Place) in Manhattan. For more information, a list of full cast members, and tickets, visit the Public Theater’s The Harder They Come webpage.
City & State magazine is pushing for a free-for-all by cosponsoring the free “Broadband for All: How Far is NYS From Full Connectivity?” session in Manhattan on Tuesday.
Hope Knight, president, CEO and commissioner of the state’s Empire State Development Corp., is keynote speaker of the event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, starting at 9 a.m. The event is cosponsored by Crown Castle and the New York State Wireless Association. Register for the free event online at Eventbrite.
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