TheatreWorks to Stage ONCE ON THIS ISLAND 3/5-30

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TheatreWorks to Stage ONCE ON THIS ISLAND 3/5-30

TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, presents ONCE ON THIS ISLAND from the Tony Award-winning creators of Ragtime. A timeless legend filled with joy, heartache, and adventure, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, winner of the Oliver Award for Best New Musical, boasts a score pulsing with irresistible Caribbean beats by Tony Award-winner Stephen Flaherty, with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley will direct this uplifting musical, which takes its story from a book by Rosa Guy, in turn inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." Choreographed by award-winning director, choreographer, and actor Gerry McIntyre, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND plays March 5-30, 2014 (press opening March 8) at TheatreWorks at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. For tickets and information the public may visit www.theatreworks.org or call (650) 463-1960.

Heartwarming and inspiring, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND follows Ti Moune, a peasant girl on a tropical island in the French Caribbean. When she rescues a wealthy young aristocrat from the wreckage of a car accident, a star-crossed love affair begins in defiance of the class divide. A vibrant musical told in one act, it is based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy. Once on This Island was originally staged Off-Broadway in 1990, moved to Broadway later that year, and ran until the end of 1991, earning eight Tony Award nominations including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The subsequent 1994 West End production received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. TheatreWorks staged the musical in 1993.

TheatreWorks has assembled a talented cast for this high-energy musical, including Salisha Thomas as Ti Moune (seen in performances at Good Company Players and Disneyland Resort, among others); Paris Nix as Daniel (seen in the United States tour of Seussical the Musical, the European tour of The Harlem Gospel Singers, and in productions at Weathervane Repertory Theatre, and Flamingo Arts Theatre in Japan, among others); Berwick Haynes as Tonton Julian (seen at TheatreWorks in Passion and in productions at Portland Center Stage, Marin Theatre Company, Broadway by the Bay, San Jose Repertory Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, among others); Rotimi Agbabiaka as Armand (seen in productions with Center Repertory Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and San Francisco Mime Troupe, among others); Dawn L. Troupe as Mama Euralie (seen at TheatreWorks in Caroline, Or Change, Dessa Rose, Crowns, Memphis, Book of Days, and Ragtime, and in productions at Marin Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, and Broadway by the Bay, among others); Omari Tau as Agwe, God of Water (seen in two Broadway national tours of Disney's The Lion King and in productions at Theatre Under The Stars, Houston Ebony Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and The Great Caruso, among others); Safiya Fredericks as Asaka, Mother of the Earth (seen at SF Playhouse, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and Flatiron Playhouse in New York, among others); Max Kumangai as Papa Ge, Demon of Death (seen in the Broadway national tour of Hair, Off-Broadway in Lysistrata Jones, The Civil War, and What's that Smell, in Scottsboro Boys at American Conservatory Theatre, The Old Globe Theatre, and the Ahmanson, and on television in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire"); Adrienne Muller as Erzulie, Goddess of Love (seen in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the national tour of Disney's The Lion King and the Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia!, TheatreWorks' Caroline, Or Change and Ragtime, and in productions at San Jose Stage Company, and American Musical Theatre of San Jose, among others); Khalia Davis as Little Ti Moune (seen at TheatreWorks in Memphis and Jane Eyre: The Musical, and in productions at California Shakespeare Theatre, Magic Theater, Willows Theater, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, among others); and Michelle Cabinian as Andrea (seen at TheatreWorks in Somewhere and in productions at 42nd Street Moon, Old Globe Theater, and San Diego Repertory Theatre, among others).

Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music) have worked as a team since 1988, when they burst onto the New York theatre scene with the comic musical Lucky Stiff. In addition to Once On This Island, which garnered eight Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score), their body of award-winning work includes the renowned Broadway musical Ragtime, for which they received the Tony Award for Best Score, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Score, and two Grammy nominations; Seussical, also Grammy-nominated and now one of the most frequently performed shows in America and around the world; and the Twentieth Century Fox feature film Anastasia, for which they received two Academy Award nominations and two Golden Globe nominations.

The TheatreWorks production of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND includes musical direction by William Liberatore, scenic design by Joe Ragey, costume design by Cathleen Edwards, lighting design by Pamila Z. Gray, and sound design by Jeff Mockus.

Award-winning director, choreographer, and actor Gerry McIntyre creates the choreography for ONCE ON THIS ISLAND. Featured as "Armand" in the original Off-Broadway and Broadway productions of Once on This Island, and as "Papa Ge" in the Broadway national tour, McIntyre has also been seen in a number of Broadway shows, including Anything Goes, Chicago, and Uptown It's Hot. As a director/choreographer, he has worked on Ain't Misbehavin' (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Chicago (Ogunquit Playhouse, BroadwayWorld 2010 Best Choreographer Award); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Lyric Theatre, starring Diana DeGarmo and Anthony Fedorov); and multiple productions of Once on This Island (Martin Beck Theatre, Virginia Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Mirada Theatre); among others. He has been seen in the film version of Joseph...Dreamcoat (with Donny Osmond and Joan Collins), and in the documentary After the Storm, which follows a group of students as they perform Once on This Island in post-Katrina New Orleans.

TheatreWorks Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley directs ONCE ON THIS ISLAND. Kelley was honored as the Legacy Laureate of the 2012 Artist Laureate Awards by the Arts Council of Silicon Valley for his lifetime of artistic achievement. Kelley has also received the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle (BATCC) Paine Knickerbocker Award for lifetime achievement as well as BATCC Awards for directing TheatreWorks' productions of Caroline, or Change; Ragtime; Rags; Another Midsummer Night; the West Coast Premiere of Jane Eyre; and the Sondheim classics Sunday in the Park with George; Pacific Overtures; Into the Woods; and Sweeney Todd. Additionally, he is the recipient of Bay Area Drama-Logue Awards for his direction of Pacific Overtures, Ah, Wilderness!, and Once in a Lifetime; and Back Stage West Garland Awards for his direction of Side Show and Sunday in the Park with George. Since founding TheatreWorks in 1970, Kelley has directed over 150 productions for the company.

With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country. A home for artists developing new works, it was at TheatreWorks that Memphis, the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical that played on Broadway for three years before embarking on a 19 month national tour, was first workshopped and received its world premiere.

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