If you’ve never been to a tour, a sample, a sharing experience at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, you need to attend the next one. Peg and I joined hundreds Sunday evening at TMP and were immensely convinced about the entertainment value of the production Once on This Island which opens on your lucky day, Friday the 13th. The cost was zero. The loosely laid out presentations were entertaining and questions were allowed from the audience. One of the actors lives in Bellingham and drives down for each rehearsal and presentation. The dedication of all those involved was quite evident. We recognized a number of our favorite actors.
We had seen the production at Tacoma Actors Guild in Tacoma in the early 90s and were not impressed. When we saw that TMP was producing the show for 2023 we thought to ourselves, “Why?”
We found out the why part. In a very relaxed presentation by Jon Douglas Rake, Founder and Managing Artistic Director of TMP and the other directors and actors involved on this production, we got an hour of entertainment and enlightenment. Each actor was introduced and there were several musical numbers.
There were several warnings that Once on This Island is not a Walt Disney production, but more like the original story by Hans Christian Andersen. The island is Haiti. “Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti’s sovereignty on 1 January 1804 and became the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the first country in the Americas to abolish slavery, and the only state in history established by a successful slave revolt.”
Here is a sampling of Once on This Island sample from Broadway
Once On This Island with Music by Stephen Flaherty and Book and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. They have been very successful with Anastasia, Seussical, Ragtime, and more . . .
Once on This Island is a coming-of-age one-act stage musical with a book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. It is based on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy, a Caribbean-set retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid. It concerns a peasant girl in the French Antilles who falls in love with a rich boy and makes a deal with the gods to save his life.
The original Broadway production ran from 1990 to 1991, and the West End production opened in 1994, where it won the 1995 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. The musical was revived on Broadway in a production that opened on December 3, 2017 at the Circle in the Square Theatre. The revival was showered with critical acclaim, with New York Times critic Jesse Green describing it as “ravishing” and The Huffington Post praising it for creating “an aesthetic experience unlike anything seen on Broadway.” It won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
Get your tickets now for Once on This Island at TMP – tmp.org/