ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Sailing to Haiti to Find Broadway Lead; Dates Set!
Directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden and written by the Tony Award-winning team of Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music), Once On This Island will begin preview performances on Thursday, November 9 and officially open on Sunday, December 3 at a Broadway theater to be announced.
Originally staged on Broadway in 1990, Once On This Island is based on the novel "My Love, My Love" by Rosa Guy. The 2017 production will feature new orchestrations by original orchestrator Michael Starobin and the vocal designer for the production will be AnnMarie Milazzo. The creative team includes Camille Brown (choreographer) and Dane Laffrey (Scenic Design). Additional members of the creative team will be announced soon.
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, Broadway's joyous musical celebration, is the extraordinary story of a fearless young dreamer named Ti Moune. After a massive storm rages through her village, a ray of hope appears through a young man from the wealthy side of the island. An unexpected romance blossoms. But when their different cultures threaten to keep them apart, Ti Moune-guided by the island gods-sets out on a journey to stay beside the man who has captured her heart. The exuberant score by Tony Award® winners Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Anastasia, Ragtime), along with the visionary production by Tony Award-nominated director Michael Arden (Spring Awakening revival), transforms the reality of post-storm Haiti into a fantastical world bursting with Caribbean rhythms and dance.
Producer Ken Davenport said, "ONCE ON THIS ISLAND was one of the first shows I saw when I moved to the city, and one of the most joyous evenings I've ever had in the theater. And I've always wanted to revive it. But it wasn't until Michael Arden described his vision for the show, that knew I had to revive it."
Director Michael Arden said, "I am so thrilled to be bringing one of the finest pieces of American musical theatre back to Broadway this fall. Ahrens and Flaherty have created a perfect combination of music and words that has inspired an entire generation of artists and theatre-goers alike. This tale of how love can conquer death and break down (literal) walls between races and social spheres is both timeless and incredibly timely. I am excited for audiences to witness the work of this incredibly talented and diverse creative team and company as well as experience the beloved score in a completely new way through the genius of AnnMarie Milazzo (vocal orchestrations) and by Michael Starobin (instrumental orchestrations). There will certainly be some surprises along the way and I look forward to everyone joining us on the island."
An unprecedented international casting search for the lead role of Ti Moune will start in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (April 7), and continue to Detroit (April 14), Chicago (April 15), Los Angeles (April 27), New Orleans (April 29), Atlanta (April 30), New York (May 2).
Ken Davenport said "In the story of Once On This Island, the character Ti Moune is discovered as a young girl in the most unlikely of places, and goes on to change the world. That's why, when we talked about casting this important role, we believed it was essential to search all over, even some unlikely places, to give an opportunity to young women everywhere the chance to be discovered, just like Ti Moune."
The casting search will be lead by the renowned New York casting agency, Telsey + Company. Telsey casting director Craig Burns said, "Setting out to find a new star is always exciting and in the case of the role of Ti Moune, we are casting a wide net to look for young women who may not have had a chance like this before."
Please visit www.OnceOnThisIsland.com for more audition locations, audition requirements, and to sign up in advance.
Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are represented on Broadway this Spring by Anastasia. This prolific songwriting duo has teamed up to create Broadway's Ragtime, Rocky, My Favorite Year, Chita Rivera: A Dancer's Life, Matters of the Heart and Seussical.
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND premiered at Playwright's Horizons in May of 1990. The Broadway production opened in October of that year and ran for 469 performances garnering eight Tony nominations including Best Featured Actress (LaChanze), Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Musical. The 1994 West End production won The Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Michael Arden (Director) is a Tony-nominated director for his revival of Spring Awakening. The acclaimed production transferred from Deaf West Theater in Los Angeles to Broadway in fall 2015. He also won the Outer Critics Circle for Outstanding Director of a Musical and was nominated for a Drama Desk award for the production. Michael made his Broadway debut in Deaf West Theater and the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Big River. Other directing credits include My Fair Lady at Bay Street Theater; Merrily We Roll Along at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Los Angeles, where he is currently the Artist in Residence; LA Ronde for his company, the Forest of Arden; and For the Record: John Hughes in LA and NYC. His production of The Pride will open at the Wallis Annenberg Center in June 2017. Other theatre credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Times they are a Changin', Ragtime (Avery Fisher), It's Only Life, Swimming in the Shallows, Ace, Juno, As You Like It, The Winter's Tale, The Secret Garden, Pippin (Mark Taper Forum), and Aspects of Love at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London. Michael's film work includes Source Code, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Bride Wars and So B It. He has also worked extensively in TV, most notably on FX and Fox's "Anger Management." Other TV credits include "GCB," "Nurse Jackie," "Royal Pains," "Unforgettable," "Off the Map," "Kings," "The Closer," "The Forgotten," "Bones," "The Return of Jezebel James," "Cashmere Mafia," "Grey's Anatomy," and "NUMB3RS." Concert work includes singing with Barbra Streisand, Chris Botti, and performances at 54 BELOW, Feinstein's at the Regency and Joe's Pub. Michael is an alum of The Interlochen Arts Academy and The Juilliard School.
Camille Brown (Choreographer) was last represented on Broadway by A Streetcar Named Desire. Her off-Broadway credits include Fortress of Solitude (Public Theatre, Lucille Nortel Award Nominee), The Box (Foundry Theatre), and Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons). Regional credits include Bella: An American Tall Tale and Stagger Lee (Dallas Theatre Center), The Winter's Tale (McCarter Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company), Blood Quilt (Arena Stage); and Encores! New York City Center's productions of Cabin in the Sky and Jonathan Larson's tick, tick...BOOM! starring Lin-Manuel Miranda. Upcoming: the Broadway revival Pal Joey (Spring 2019), and a world premiere of her new work Ink at The Kennedy Center this December. Ms. Brown is a four time Princess Grace Award winner (2016 Statue Award, 2016 Choreographic Mentorship Co-Commission Award, 2013 Works in Progress Residency Award, 2006 Choreography Award, 2016 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award recipient, 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, 2015 USA Jay Franke & David Herro Fellow, 2015 TED Fellow, and 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient). Her company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, received a 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for the work Mr. TOL E. RAncE and a 2016 Bessie Award nomination for Outstanding Production for the work BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play. She is a prolific choreographer making a personal claim on history through the lens of a modern Black female perspective and leads her dancers through excavations of ancestral stories, both timeless and traditional, that illustrate stories which connect history with contemporary culture. Ms. Brown's work has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco!, Complexions, and Urban Bush Women, among others. Initiatives: The Gathering; BLACK GIRL SPECTRUM (BGS) | Publication: Cover of Dance Teacher Magazine (August 2015) | Program: Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop at Jacob's Pillow in 2015 (Co-Directed with Moncell Durden) Public Speaker: 2015 TED Conference, 2016 TEDxBeaconStreet, 2016 TEDxEsteeLauderCompanies. Ms. Brown's TED-Ed talk A Visual History of Social Dance in 25 Moves was chosen as one of the most notable talks of 2016 by TED Curator, Chris Anderson, and has over 11 million views on Facebook and counting. www.camilleabrown.org
Lynn Ahrens (Book and Lyrics) won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards and received two Grammy nominations for Broadway's Ragtime. For Twentieth Century Fox's animated feature film Anastasia, she was nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes. She and longtime collaborator Stephen Flaherty received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2015 they were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Broadway: Anastasia; Once On This Island (Olivier Award, Best Musical; Tony nominations, Best Book and Score); Seussical (Grammy nomination); My Favorite Year; Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life; Rocky; Madison Square Garden's A Christmas Carol; Ragtime (2010 Broadway revival). Off-Broadway and regional: Lincoln Center Theater's Dessa Rose, The Glorious Ones (both Drama Desk-nominated) and A Man of No Importance (Outer Critics Circle Award, Best Musical); Lucky Stiff; Little Dancer (Kennedy Center world premiere). Film and television credits include A Christmas Carol(NBC-TV); Camp (IFC Films); Schoolhouse Rock (ABC-TV) and others. (Emmy Award and four Emmy nominations). She is a Council member of the Dramatists Guild of America, a co-founder of the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program, and a Lilly Award winner for Lyrics. www.ahrensandflaherty.com
Stephen Flaherty (Music) is the composer of the Broadway musicals Ragtime (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Grammy nominations), Once On This Island (Tony nomination, London's Olivier Award, Best Musical), Seussical (Grammy, Drama Desk nominations), Rocky and the upcoming Anastasia. Additional Broadway credits include Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life (original songs) and Neil Simon's Proposals (incidental music). He composed the scores for four musicals at Lincoln Center Theatre: TheGlorious Ones (OCC, Drama Desk nominations), Dessa Rose (OCC, Drama Desk nominations), A Man of No Importance (OCC, Best Musical, Drama Desk nomination) and My Favorite Year. Other theater includes In Your Arms (Old Globe), Little Dancer (Kennedy Center), Lucky Stiff (Playwrights Horizons) and Loving Repeating (Chicago's Jefferson Award, Best New Musical.) Film includes Anastasia (two Academy Award and two Golden Globe nominations), After The Storm and Lucky Stiff. Mr. Flaherty's concert music has premiered at the Hollywood Bowl, Boston's Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Guggenheim. In 2014, he and longtime collaborator Lynn Ahrens received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2015 they were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Council, Dramatists Guild of America; co-founder, Dramatists Guild Fellows Program. AhrensAndFlaherty.com
Ken Davenport (Producer) is a Broadway producer whose credits include Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening (Tony nomination), It's Only a Play, Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Godspell, Kinky Boots (Tony Award), The Visit (Tony nomination), Mothers and Sons (Tony nomination), The Bridges of Madison County, Allegiance, Chinglish, Oleanna, Speed-the- Plow, Will Ferrell's You're Welcome America (Tony nomination), Blithe Spirit starring Angela Lansbury, and 13. Off-Broadway Ken has produced Daddy Long Legs, Altar Boyz, My First Time, The Awesome 80s Prom, That Bachelorette Show, and Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage. He also produced the award winning These Magnificent Miles: On the Long Road with Red Wanting Blue, and an award-winning TV pilot entitled "The Bunny Hole" which has appeared in the LA Indie Film Festival, the Orlando Film Festival, the LA Comedy Festival and more. Ken was named one of Crain's "40 Under Forty," is one of the co-founders of TEDxBroadway, and was featured on a national commercial for Apple's iPhone. He created the Broadway board game Be A Broadway Star, and runs a number of theatrical websites including DidHeLikeIt.com. His blog, TheProducersPerspective.com, has been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, The Gothamist and more. He has written articles for Forbes, Mashable, Imedia and others. For more information, visit www.DavenportTheatrical.com.
Hunter Arnold (Producer) is the CEO of ARTech Holdings, a company dedicated to bringing best in class technologies to the live arts. He is also a founder of the New Musicals Creative Collective, an organization committed to aiding the development of new musical works from emerging artists. Broadway: Kinky Boots (Tony Award®), Dear Evan Hansen, Disaster!, Allegiance, Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening (Tony® Nomination), The Visit (Tony® Nomination), It's Only a Play, Mothers and Sons (Tony® Nomination), The Bridges of Madison County, Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Godspell and Chinglish. Upcoming: Anastasia. Upcoming Film/Television: Hello Again and A Little More Alive, Single for the First Time.
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