Once On This Island

Acting Up Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre revive poignant Broadway musical

Book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Directed by Nigel Shawn Williams
Music direction by Lily Ling
Choreographed by Marc Kimelman

Chris Sams, Jewelle Blackman, Sabryn Rock, Nichola Lawrence and Jivaro Smith. Photographer: Joanna Akyol.

Twenty-four years after its Broadway premiere, Acting Up Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre Company are breathing new life into the Olivier-Award winning Once On This Island as part of TD’s “Then and Now” Black History Month program. Set in the French Antilles, this musical fairy tale tells a potent tale of young love and divisive social forces.

Based on Rosa Guy’s My Love, My Love: or The Peasant Girl, an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, Once On This Island follows the life of Ti Moune (Jewelle Blackman) a shipwrecked orphan as she wrestles with the gods, fate, and a society that will never accept her, in an attempt to discover her place in the world.  The play is both heartwarming in its portrayal of Ti Moune’s naïvete and genuine love for Daniel (Chris Sams), a light-skinned boy whose life she saves, and a heartbreaking examination of the effects of racism, and in particular shadism, through the prism of a young girl’s experience. 

Under the musical direction of Lily Ling, the play’s versatile Tony-award nominated soundtrack provides a beautiful backdrop for the play’s contrasting themes. As director Nigel Shawn Williams explained, the play’s choreography, like its soundtrack, was adapted to bring this production closer to the Carribbean experience than the original Broadway staging. Strong performances from a multi-talented cast paired with imaginative costumes and set combine to ensure that Williams’ desire to have the audience “leave the theatre joyous and heartbroken” is most definitely realized.

Once On This Island runs until February 9 at Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas St. East). Visit actingupstage.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2014-01-21 - Sun, 2014-02-09
Our rating:



Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.