CenterStage is set to bring a burst of spring to Louisville this February with the romantic fairy tale Once on This Island, an enchanting musical that will warm your hearts as it whisks you away to a tropical paradise.
From the Tony Award-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty of Seussical and Ragtime, Once on This Island is a one-act musical about a peasant girl in the Caribbean who finds love in a world of prejudice and uses her love to change people and bring them together. Borrowing from Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid with some tragic elements of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the familiar story is told in a refreshing, innovative way.
Yearning to tackle something with more emotional depth after their Off-Broadway debut with Lucky Stiff, Ahrens and Flaherty discovered the 1985 novel, My Love, My Love; or The Peasant Girl, by Rosa Guy. Ahrens responded instantly to the novel’s poetic language and simple beauty and realized they had found their story. The show’s journey began in 1990 Off-Broadway at Playwright’s Horizon, but was quickly transferred to Broadway later that year, where it ran for 469 performances. The production was honored with eight Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. The West End production opened in 1994 running for 145 performances and winning the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
Cierra Richmond as Ti Moune will lead the 23-member ensemble cast. Though you will remember her incredible voice from Little Shop of Horrors (Urchin) and RENT (“Seasons of Love” soloist) this marks her debut in a lead role at CenterStage. Also returning are Pat Mathison (Sophia/The Color Purple), Tymika Prince (Celie/The Color Purple, Sarah/Ragtime) and Alonzo Richmond (Colehouse/Ragtime).
“Once on This Island is an absolutely captivating musical,” CenterStage Artistic Director John Leffert said. “The Caribbean-style music is infectious, the script rich with poetic storytelling and the universal theme of love breaking down barriers of prejudice and stereotypes transcends generations making the piece perfect for the entire family. It is no accident that this show is being presented in February. Celebrate African American History Month and Valentine’s Day with CenterStage as we celebrate love, acceptance, diversity and the chipping away of stereotypes and prejudice with our production of Once on This Island.”
Once on This Island runs February 12-22. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door. Call 502-238-2709, or visit CenterStageJCC.org.