Coming to Broadway this fall is the first revival of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s 1990 musical “Once on This Island.” Based on Rosa Guy’s 1985 novel, “My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl”, the tuner tells the story of a peasant girl on a tropical island in the French Antilles on the Caribbean Sea, who uses the power of love to bring together people of different social classes.
The original production debuted off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizon on May 6, 1990, where it was successful enough to mount a Broadway transfer in the fall of that year. It earned eight Tony Award nominations in 1991 for Best Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical (LaChanze), Best Direction of a Musical (Graciela Daniele), Best Book of a Musical (Ahrens), Best Original Score (Ahrens/Flaherty), Best Choreography (Daniele), Best Lighting Design (Allen Lee Hughes), and Best Costume Design (Judy Dearing).
Unfortunately, it ended up going home empty-handed. The Broadway production ended its run on December 1, 1991. “Once on This Island” debuted in London’s West End in September 1994 and went on to win the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
This new production will be directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (“Spring Awakening” ) and feature choreography by Camille Brown as well as new musical arrangements by the original orchestrator Michael Starobin. Performances will begin on November 9 before officially opening on December 3 at a theatre to be announced. It will also hold an international casting search for the lead role of Ti Moune in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti on April 7.
The lead producer is Ken Davenport, whose 18 Broadway credits include the 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical, “Kinky Boots.” He’s been a lead producer on three productions: “Godspell” (2012), “Macbeth” (2013), and “Spring Awakening” (2015). This innovator launched a successful Kickstarter campaign last year to get a performance from the shuttered “Spring Awakening” on the Tony Awards telecast.
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