Once On This Island

Book and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Once On This Island
Once On This Island

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Based on the novel My Love by Rosa Guy

Directed by Mark E. Lococo

Music Direction by Eugen Dizon

Choreography by Brenda Didier

Produced by Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago

Beautiful and enchanting musical love story from the Caribbean.

Kudos to Porchlight Music Theatre for re-imagining Aherns & Flaherty’s chamber reggae/calypso operetta moving it from an island to an immigrant community in a major US city.  Once On This Island is a classic fairy tale about Ti Moune (Melanie Brezill), a poor peasant girl who falls in love with an upper-class gentleman named Daniel (Sean Walton). Ti Moune saves Daniel’s life. the island gods of Love, Earth, Water, and Death try to manipulate the lovers on a fateful journey that tests the power of their love.

We hear an assortment of stirring and hauntingly beautiful contemporary music with a distinct calypso-flavored and reggae rhythms.  There are wonderful harmonis from the ensemble that together with bongo drums ignites exotic issland dancing with hints of West African roots. Brenda Didier’s choreography was stunning.

Bethany Thomas, Jayson Brooks,  Luis herrera and Austin Moore led the outstanding ensemble with their rich harmonies and spirited dancing.  Once On This Island is a gem of a musical–so charming and so lovely to watch and listen to.  You’ll be captavated by this wonderful musical love story.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

At The Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago,  IL, Call 773-327-5252, tickets $37, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:45 pm, Sundays at2:30 pm, special on May 21 at 10 am, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through June 28, 2009