Kenita R. Miller, Merle Dandridge and Justin Hicks. Photo by Lia Chang

Merle Dandridge Returns as Papa Ge in Tony Award-Winning Revival of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, June 18 – August 19

Kenita R. Miller, Merle Dandridge and Justin Hicks. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller, Merle Dandridge and Justin Hicks. Photo by Lia Chang

Merle Dandridge returns to the Tony Award winning revival of Once On This Island for a limited time from June 18 – August 19. Current cast member Tamyra Gray will return as Papa Ge on August 20.

Alex Newell, Lea Salonga and Merle Dandridge. Photo: Joan Marcus
Alex Newell, Lea Salonga and Merle Dandridge. Photo: Joan Marcus

“Reviving Once On This Island was one of the most creatively and emotionally rewarding experiences of my life,” remarked Merle Dandridge. “It was bittersweet to leave this beautiful Island family after our rigorous rehearsal and preview process and only six weeks into the run to return to a wonderful season 3 of “Greenleaf” on OWN. It was a banner year and it is now topped by the opportunity to come back to the Island this summer. Creating the heartbreaking and terrifying journey for a female Papa Ge was and is a thrill. I cannot wait to delve deeper into the character this summer.”

Merle Dandridge, Aurelia Williams-Philpotts, Quentin Earl Darrington, Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang
Merle Dandridge, Aurelia Williams-Philpotts, Quentin Earl Darrington, Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang

The new Broadway production of Once On This Island, produced by Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold, is the recipient of eight Tony Award® nominations including Best Musical Revival and Best Leading Actress (Hailey Kilgore), seven Drama Desk Award nominations, six Outer Critics Circle nominations and three Chita Rivera Award nominations. It opened on December 3 at The Circle in the Square Theatre (235 West 50th Street) to rave reviews.

Hailey Kilgore, Trevor Hardwick, Kenita R. Miller and Stephen Flaherty. Photo by Lia Chang
Hailey Kilgore, Trevor Hardwick, Kenita R. Miller and Stephen Flaherty. Photo by Lia Chang

The new production is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden, and choreographed by the critically-acclaimed Camille A. Brown.

Once On This Island is written by the Tony Award-winning team Lynn Ahrens (Book and Lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (Music), and based on the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy. This production features new orchestrations by original orchestrator Michael Starobin who is joined by AnnMarie Milazzo.

The creative team also includes Dane Laffrey (Scenic Design), Clint Ramos (Costume Design), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (Lighting Designers), Peter Hylenski (Sound Designer), John Bertles/Bash The Trash (Unusual Instruments), Cookie Jordan (Hair/Wig & Makeup Designer), Chris Fenwick (Music Supervisor), Alvin Hough, Jr. (Music Director), David Perlow (Associate Director), Nikki M. James (Assistant Director), Rickey Tripp (Associate Choreographer) and Telsey + Co / Craig Burns, CSA (Casting Agent).

Additional producers include Carl Daikeler, Roy Putrino, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Sandi Moran, Caiola Productions, H. Richard Hopper, Diego Kolankowsky, Brian Cromwell Smith, Ron Kastner, Rob Kolson, Judith Manocherian, Kevin Lyle, Jay Alix, Una Jackman, Jeff Wise, Witzend Productions, Jeff Grove, Wishnie-Strasberg, Mark Ferris, Michelle Riley, Marie Stevenson, Silva Theatrical Group, Jesse McKendry, Dr. Mojgan Fajiram, Conor Bagley, Brendan C. Tetro, Invisible Wall Productions, SilverWalport Productions, Tyler Mount, UshkowitzLatimer Productions, Deitric Johnson, Steven Mulligan, Reilly Hickey, The Harbert Family, Keith Cromwell, Red Mountain Theatre Company, 42nd.Club, The Yonnone Family and Island Productions. The associate producers are Kayla Greenspan and Valerie Novakoff.

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 keep them apart, Ti Moune is guided by the powerful island gods, Erzulie, Asaka, Papa Ge, and Agwe, on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.

Bursting with Caribbean colors, rhythms and dance, the story comes to vibrant life in a striking production by Tony Award®-nominated director Michael Arden (Spring Awakening revival) and acclaimed choreographer Camille A. Brown. This production transforms the reality of a tropical village devastated by a storm into a fantastical world alive with hope.

Tickets for Once On This Island are on sale through Telecharge. Group tickets are available at www.YourBroadwayGenius.com or by calling 855-329-2932.

Once On This Island premiered at Playwrights Horizons in May of 1990. The Broadway production opened in October of that year and ran for 469 performances garnering eight Tony nominations including Best Featured Actress (LaChanze), Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical. The 1994 West End production won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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