By Alexandra Simon
The revival of the 1990’s musical “Once on this Island,” is the sole Caribbean-based show currently on Broadway. It returned to the stage in December, close to three decades after its first run. It is a one of a kind production and its rebooted comeback is even more exciting, said the show’s marketing partner.
“The great thing about this revival is that it has fantastic music and fantastic choreography,” said Cherine Anderson.
“Once on this Island” debuted on Broadway in 1990 and ended its run a year later. The story follows Ti Moune, a poor girl in French creole-speaking Caribbean country, who falls in love with a rich boy, and the four spiritual gods that challenge her.
Ti Moune is played by newcomer Hailey Kilgore, an 18–year–old actress who beat hundreds for the role.
The revival still keeps the play’s original storyline, such as a storm that plays a major part in the plot but stays relevant to recent weather occurrences, added Anderson.
“It’s more updated because of all those tropical storms that have been happening, so it speaks to what’s been happening in current day,” she said.
She says the show’s setting brings a fresh story to the theatre district, and offers slight escapism for its viewers.
“There is sand, a goat, a chicken, and people are cooking on stage,” said Anderson. “Coming to see the show is like going to a Caribbean island because it’s so different from most Broadway shows and you’re walking into an experiential environment.
And if it is not the setting that interests you, the universal story is another reason to see it, said the show’s marketing director.
“It is a must see. It is a story of love, a story of families and friends, and it is a fun production just to be involved with,” said Toni Isreal. “‘Once on this Island’ is absolutely phenomenal. It is a great cast — the music, the dancing, and it is something you definitely want to see.”
Anderson added that the show needs all the support it can get so more and similar shows are more frequent on Broadway.
“We need the community to come out and support the show, whether Caribbean or American or whatever your ethnicity — we need you to come out and support the show,” she said. “That is critical so this show can be sustained the way it needs to be sustained.”
“Once on this Island” at Circle in the Square Theatre [1633 Broadway between W. 50th and W. 51st streets in Midtown. Sun., at 3 and 7:30 pm, Mon., 8 pm, Wed. 2 pm, Fri. 8 pm. Sat., 2 and 8 pm. $69–249.