James Monroe Iglehart, Garth Kravits and Jessie Mueller Visit ONCE ON THIS ISLAND

Alex Newell, Lea Salonga, Merle Dandridge and Quentin Earl Darrington. Photo by Lia Chang
Alex Newell, Lea Salonga, Merle Dandridge and Quentin Earl Darrington. Photo by Lia Chang

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at the evening performance of the Tony Award-winning Revival of a Musical Once On This Island, as Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga, played her final performance as Erzulie on June 24, before heading out to the Hollywood Bowl to star as Grace Farrell in the Michael Arden helmed production of Annie, July 27 – 29.

Merle Dandridge, Jessie Mueller, Kenita R. MIller, Alex Newell and Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang
Merle Dandridge, Jessie Mueller, Kenita R. MIller, Alex Newell and Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang

“Greenleaf” star Merle Dandridge, who originated the role of Papa Ge in the current revival, has returned for a limited run through August 19.

Garth Kravits, Kenita R. Miller and Jessie Mueller. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits, Kenita R. Miller and Jessie Mueller. Photo by Lia Chang

 Carousel‘s Jessie Mueller, Hamiton‘s James Monroe Iglehart and Gettin’ The Band Back Together‘s Garth Kravits visited with cast after the show.

Phillip Boykin, Emerson Davis, James M. Iglehart. Photo by Lia Chang
Phillip Boykin, Emerson Davis, James M. Iglehart. Photo by Lia Chang

The production opened to rave reviews on December 3 at The Circle in the Square Theatre and received eight Tony Award® nominations including Best Musical Revival, seven Drama Desk Award nominations, six Outer Critics Circle nominations and three Chita Rivera Award nominations. In addition to Best Musical Revival, the other Tony nominations included Best Leading Actress in a Musical – Hailey Kilgore, Best Scenic Design of a Musical – Dane Laffrey, Best Costume Design of a Musical – Clint Ramos, Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Best Sound Design of a Musical – Peter Hylenski, Best Direction of a Musical – Michael Arden, and Best Orchestrations – AnnMarie Milazzo & Michael Starobin.

Deonté Lamont, James Monroe Iglehart, Lea Salonga, Juwan Alan Crawley and Anthony Murphy. Photo by Lia Chang
Deonté Lamont, James Monroe Iglehart, Lea Salonga, Juwan Alan Crawley and Anthony Murphy. Photo by Lia Chang

The current cast stars Darlesia Cearcy as Erzulie, Merle Dandridge as Papa Ge, Quentin Earl Darrington as Agwe, Alex Newell as Asaka and Tony Award nominee Hailey Kilgore as Ti Moune. The cast also features Kenita R. Miller (Mama Euralie) Phillip Boykin (Tonton Julian), Courtnee Carter (Storyteller), Rodrick Covington (Storyteller), Cicily Daniels (Storyteller), Emerson Davis (Little Girl) Alysha Deslorieux (Andrea), Tyler Hardwick (Storyteller), Cassondra James (Storyteller), David Jennings (Armand), Grasan Kingsberry (Storyteller), Isaac Powell (Daniel), T. Oliver Reid (Storyteller), Anna Uzele (Storyteller), Ximone Rose (Storyteller), Anthony Wayne (Storyteller, Aurelia Williams (Storyteller), Mia Williamson (Little Girl) and Daniel Yearwood (Storyteller).

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Kenita R. Miller and Merle Dandridge. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller and Merle Dandridge. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Quentin Earl Darrington and Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang
Quentin Earl Darrington and Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Alex Newell, Lea Salonga, Merle Dandridge and Quentin Earl Darrington. Photo by Lia Chang
Alex Newell, Lea Salonga, Merle Dandridge and Quentin Earl Darrington. Photo by Lia Chang

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).

Alex Newell, Garth Kravits, Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang
Alex Newell, Garth Kravits, Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

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.

Tickets for Once On This Island are on sale through Telecharge.

Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony Award Winner Lea Salonga to Star as Grace Farrell in ANNIE at the Hollywood Bowl, July 27 – 29 

Casts of “The Band’s Visit,” “Carousel,” “Frozen,” “Mean Girls,” “My Fair Lady,” “Once on This Island,” “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical,” “SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical,” and “Dear Evan Hansen” to Perform on 2018 Tony Awards 

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

Kenita R. Miller and Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Kenita R. Miller and 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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