News on your favorite shows, specials & more!

Once On This Island Broadway Reviews

Reviews of Once On This Island on Broadway. See what all the critics had to say and see all the ratings for Once On This Island including the New York Times and More...


Rate Once On This Island

Critics' Reviews

There has probably never been a production quite like the stunning new Broadway revival at Circle in the Square. Emphasizing the musical's themes of natural disaster and economic inequality, director Michael Arden brings an unexpected dose of gritty realism, while also honoring its gorgeous score of dynamic group numbers and tender ballads. Vocal fireworks and full-bodied dance choreography imbue spirituality and joyful theatricality.


Review: ‘Once on This Island,’ Revived and Ravishing

From: New York Times | By: Jesse Green | Date: 12/03/2017

What a delight it is to enter the world of 'Once on This Island'...The hallmark ingenuity, warmth and intensity bordering on excess that characterize Mr. Arden's style is recapitulated everywhere within the production, from the frankly stupendous singing (Chris Fenwick is the music supervisor) to the electric choreography of Camille A. Brown. Everyone is working on the same crammed page.


Broadway Review: A Glorious, Timely Revival Of ‘Once On This Island’

From: Deadline | By: Jeremy Gerard | Date: 12/03/2017

A joyful noise thunders through Circle in the Square theater, as Broadway welcomes a smashing revival of Once On This Island. Michael Arden's exuberant staging of this 1990 musical fairy tale set on a Caribbean island conjures a spell that is devastatingly timely yet affectingly timeless in its evocation of how love goes when the indifferent, capricious whims of gods and nature intervene in the deepest yearnings of the human heart.


'Once on This Island': Theater Review

From: Hollywood Reporter | By: David Rooney | Date: 12/03/2017

Together with his resourceful design team and cast of expressive, vocally gifted performers, Arden has approached the piece with the nurturing hand it requires - striking a balance between child-like story theater and folkloric ritual with a fantastical dash of dangerous voodoo. It's a show about the healing power of storytelling, which makes it perfect for these grim times. Themes concerning the divisions of class, race, skin-color pigmentation and wealth also give the material timeless currency.


Review: 'Once on This Island' on Broadway: Lovely, timely, touching one heart at a time

From: Chicago Tribune | By: Chris Jones | Date: 12/03/2017

This is a show that works on one heart at a time (yours). In so doing, the story of the peasant girl Ti-Moune, and her audacious capacity for love, homes in on the essential simplicity of the musical art and, especially, its place in the great human trajectory of assuaging life's crises through the collective telling, and the collective hearing, of pedagogical, allegorical and soothing stories. You do not need to spend much time with the current news to know that producer Ken Davenport has judiciously timed his revival of a show featuring a fearless female protagonist self-actualizing inside a story within a story, finding herself empowered by her community and thus able to take down the walls constructed by those with privilege.


Love, Racism, and the Strange Politics of ‘Once On This Island’

From: Daily Beast | By: Tim Teeman | Date: 12/03/2017

The Caribbean music of Once On This Island is so exuberant and beautifully performed that it is only at the end you realize what a tragic tale has been told to you...Kilgore's voice is pure and resonant, Philip Boykin and Kenita R. Miller, as Ti Moune's adoptive parents, who worry for her safety, sing beautifully too, their warmth and love for Ti Moune feel as an all-encompassing musical blanket by the audience too. Salonga is the perfect 'good witch' of Love counterpart to Dandridge's malevolence. If the music is wonderful-truly, every song-and the direction brimming with life and originality


'Once on This Island' bewitches — theater review

From: NY Daily News | By: Joe Dziemianowicz | Date: 12/03/2017

Over a fast-moving 90 minutes, the score mixes captivating calypso beats and warm ballads, all brought to life vividly by the fine-tuned cast. Exuberant dancing adds bursts of excitement. Imaginative storytelling lends delights. Pieces of wood combine to become a Daniel's car. A whirled length of hose turns into a whooshing almost musical instrument. In the end, Ti Moune's journey doesn't lead to happily ever after - but to a mythical sort of transformation.


‘Once on This Island’ review: An island wind brings something nice, at last

From: Newsday | By: Barbara Schuler | Date: 12/03/2017

This is an ensemble piece, and the superb cast is fun to watch cavorting across the sand-covered stage, occasionally playing instruments made of found objects. Choreographer Camille A. Brown lets them cut lose with energetic, ethnic-influenced dances, and as he leads the folk tale to its tearjerker of an ending, director Michael Arden beautifully embraces the message of 'Why We Tell the Story,' the show's emotional closing number.


Broadway Review: ‘Once On This Island’

From: Variety | By: Marilyn Stasio | Date: 12/03/2017

The ungainly in-the-round stage of Broadway's Circle in the Square is put to imaginative use in director Michael Arden's inspired revival of 'Once On This Island,' the 1990 musical by Lynn Ahrens (book & lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music). The imaginative physical design extends to the auditorium, where colorful laundry hangs on the side walls and luxurious vegetation blooms. Everything about Dane Laffrey's immersive set design welcomes the audience to the little island in the French Antilles where this pretty but sad fable is set.



From: NY1 | By: Roma Torre | Date: 12/03/2017

Theatre-in-the-round is always a big challenge to stage, but the dazzling revival of 'Once On This Island,' currently ensconced in the Circle in the Square Theatre, feels right at home - and long may it live. The show that first graced Broadway in 1990 is back in a production that comes to life in a burst of creative energy courtesy director Michael Arden. His staging of the vibrant musical written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty sprawls with abandon across the entire playing space, up the aisles, and along the back walls.

Hailey Kilgore makes an exultant Broadway debut as Ti Moune, expectant with hope, her open-faced vivacity crushed by the pain of her rejection. It's quietly devastating. Glorious, too, if under-used, is the show's biggest star name Lea Salonga, who plays the Goddess of Love with an enveloping warmth and rich vocals, while Phillip Boykin brings a warm gravitas to the role of Tim Moune's adoptive father.


Once on This Island

From: TimeOut NY | By: Adam Feldman | Date: 12/03/2017

After seeing the imaginative and dynamic Once on This Island, you may feel that once is not enough. Michael Arden's immersive revival of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's 1990 musical is staged in the round and constantly on the move, drumming its story forward to a steady throb of pop-Caribbean beats.


Once on This Island is a joy-filled Caribbean escape on Broadway: EW review

From: Entertainment Weekly | By: Breanne L. Heldman | Date: 12/03/2017

Just as the colorful Caribbean musical (from Ragtime and Anastasia duo Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty) straddles two time periods and 'two different worlds never meant to meet,' the show itself does too - feeling fresh, but also a little bit retro. Once on This Island's original Broadway run lasted from 1990 to 1994 and the West End production earned an Olivier for best new musical in 1995. The new production marks its first Broadway revival, and while the music isn't dated, the new orchestrations by original orchestrator Michael Starobin and AnnMarie Milazzo certainly follow some of the trends set 25 years ago.

Once on This Island' captures Ahrens and Flaherty at their most intimate and therefore their most effective, before they went on to such questionable projects as 'Seussical' and the current 'Anastasia' and what is arguably the most ponderous musical ever brought to Broadway, 'Ragtime.'


“Once On This Island” Revival Creates an Aesthetic Experience

From: Huffington Post | By: Christian Lewis | Date: 12/03/2017

Overall 'Once on this Island' felt more like a song cycle than a musical. Each song felt similar, with chaotic choreography (by Camille A. Brown), excessive amounts of haze, an over-stressed parallel between Ti Moune, her younger self (Mia Williamson), and the doll version of Ti Moune that her younger self carried around, a loud final note from the pit to punctuate the ending, and a dramatic light cue. After a while it felt more like a concert than a work of fiction.



Recommended For You