New in 2017 A revival of the hit musical that follows a peasant girl and her star-crossed romance with a young man from the wealthy side of her island, which is ruled by four island gods.
From the producers: "Once On This Island" is the tale of Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. When their divided cultures threaten to keep them apart, Ti Moune, guided by the island gods, sets out on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.
"Once On This Island" is based on the 1985 novel "My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl" by Rosa Guy. It is set in the French Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The show includes elements of the "Romeo and Juliet" story and elements of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Little Mermaid." The musical was originally staged at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons in 1990 before transferring to Broadway later that year. A West End production opened in 1994, where it won the 1995 Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
Casting Notes: Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis ("Porgy and Bess," "The Phantom of the Opera") and Tamyra Gray ("American Idol," "If/Then") will step into the roles of Agwe and Papa Ge, respectively beginning 1/8, succeeding original revival cast members Quentin Earl Darrington and Merle Dandridge.
The musical features a score by "Anastasia" and "Ragtime" duo Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. A new sound has been created for the revival, stripping the score of its traditional pit orchestra and utilizing objects such as trash bins and piping. Tony nominee Michael Arden ("Spring Awakening") directs.
Ravishing...Arden's staging serves his top-to-bottom terrific cast...he has also aced every theatrical trick he's torn from the ancient handbook, freshening the show, and the tricks, in the process. The hallmark ingenuity, warmth and intensity bordering on excess that characterize Arden's style is recapitulated everywhere within the production. If all this is five percent too Technicolor, five percent too illustrative, I'd rather have that than a production that is five percent too dour.
While the music isn't dated, the new orchestrations certainly follow some of the trends set 25 years ago. The tale is as timely as ever though...[the] energetic "Mama Will Provide" is a highlight and one of the show's most memorable and most cheered moments. [Kilgore's] sweetness and naivete mixes with [her] killer pipes and dance moves for a dynamite performance filled with heart. "Once on This Island" runs just over 90 minutes, yet nothing feels rushed...and it's filled with joy.