Once On This Island – Play Review


Theatreworks Artistic Director, Robert Kelley has done a stunningly job in directing the musical, “Once on this Island”, originally from the Tony Award winning creators of Ragtime.  This musical springs from a Caribbean legend about a little orphan girl, Ti Moune (Khalia Davis), whose parents die in a horrible storm that she survives.   She is adopted by the peasant couple, Mama Euralie & Tonton Julian (Dawn L. Troupe & Berwick Haynes) and raised in the village where everyone dances with abandon, sings with everything they’ve got, uses herbs to heal, lives in harmony with nature, and seeks to appease the Gods of death, earth, water, and love (Max Kumangai, Safiya Fredericks, Omari Tau, and Adrienne Muller).  Entire cast is superb and performs beautifully.  I, particularly loved Adrienne Muller.theatreworks 1

Ti Moune grows into a gorgeous and spunky young lady (Salisha Thomas).  She continues to be haunted by the death of her parents and wonders what her purpose in life might be for which the Gods might have meant for her to live.  She rescues a wealthy aristocrat from a near fatal car crash.  She cleans his wounds, applies ointments, and keeps steadfast vigil, for him to recover.  She regards him as the love of her life and comes to believe that the Gods kept her alive, so that she may help him heal and survive.

This timeless tale is filled with joy, romance, adventure, entrenched prejudices, and heartache.  All human feelings find expression in amazing lyrics (by Lynn Ahrens) with heart pulsating, irresistible Caribbean drum beats, (by Stephen Flaherty).  William Liberatore is the Musical Director.  He was also musical director for absolutely fabulous production of “Little Women” http://bit.ly/1cmVLl6 at Theatreworks, in December, 2013.

The credit for making this musical a spell binding on-stage performance, goes to the Stage Manager Randall K Lum, Assistant Stage Manager Jannette Cote, Scenic Designer, Joe Ragey, Costume Designer, Cathleen Edwards, and Lighting Designer, Pamila Z. Gray.  Together they have created magic, on stage.  The scenes come alive with ferocious storm, enchanting jungle with frogs and trees, and beautiful village with little lanterns that contrasts with the life of the aristocrat lover, in the city.  For tickets, go to www.theatreworks.org

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  1. #1 by Savita on March 12, 2014 - 2:10 pm

    Absolutely loved the play. Loved the cast and their amazing voices, The sets were simple but superbly executed!!!

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