Musical (1990)

Musique: Stephen Flaherty
Paroles: Lynn Ahrens
Livret: Lynn Ahrens
Production à la création:

Story: During a terrible thunderstorm the following story is told in an effort to calm a frightened young girl: Once on this island in the time of black slaves and Creole aristocrats, the orphan Ti Moune fell in love with the well-born mulatto landowner Daniel as she nursed him following a car accident. However, they could never marry: his skin colour was creamy coffee, hers was black jet. Ti Moune made a pact with the local gods - her life for Daniel’s. He survived to marry another, and she died of grief, but the gods turned her into a palm tree and she was able to provide shelter for Daniel’s home for all his life.

One stormy night, thunder booms, making a small girl cry in fear. To comfort her, the villagers tell her the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who falls in love with a grande homme, Daniel Beauxhomme – a story of life, pain, love, grief, faith, and hope. In this story, four gods (Asaka, Mother of the Earth; Agwé, god of Water; Erzulie, goddess of Love; and Papa Ge, Demon of Death) rule an island, the Jewel of the Antilles (Haiti), where poor peasants worship them (Prologue/"We Dance). The peasants, "black as night", live on one side of the island, and the grandes hommes, lighter-skinned descendants of the original French planters and their slaves, live on the other. One day, Agwe unleashes a terrible storm upon the island, which in turn causes a disastrous flood, wiping out many villages. However, the gods save the life of little Ti Moune, an orphan, by placing her in a tree, above the flood's waves. She is found and subsequently adopted by the peasants Mama Euralie and Tonton Julian (One Small Girl).
Years afterwards, Ti Moune, grown up, prays to the gods to know her purpose, and to let her be like the fast-driving strangers on the roads near her village - the grandes hommes (Waiting for Life). Hearing her plea, the gods laugh at her. However, Erzulie says to give her love, because it is stronger than any of the other elements. Papa Ge, offended, proposes a bet to prove which is stronger: love or death. Agwe arranges for the car of Daniel Beauxhomme, a young grande homme, to crash during a storm so that Ti Moune may meet Daniel and restore him to health (And The Gods Heard Her Prayer/Rain). Despite the objections of the other peasants, including her own parents, Ti Moune helps the intruder recover (Pray). Ti Moune falls in love with the stranger and, as she cares for the unconscious boy, imagines he loves her too. When Papa Ge comes to take Daniel's life, Ti Moune offers her life in exchange for Daniel's so that he will not die (Forever Yours). Papa Ge is angry but leaves, hinting he will return – sooner or later, as her life now belongs to him.
Tonton travels to the other side of the Island to seek Daniel's family at the Hotel Beauxhomme. When Tonton returns, he brings with him the story of Daniel's people (The Sad Tale of the Beauxhommes) as well as some of Daniel's people to take the boy back. Ti Moune is tearfully separated from Daniel and tells her parents that she will go after Daniel to marry him. Ti Moune's parents reluctantly let her go (Ti Moune). During her travels, she encounters the goddess Asaka, who tells her not to fear, as the Earth will give her everything she needs on her journey to Daniel (Mama Will Provide). Ti Moune travels across the island (Waiting For Life (Reprise)). The storytellers then relate the story of her difficult journey to the city (including being forced to wear too-tight shoes) through the hotel gates and finding Daniel's room (Some Say). Daniel, still ill and unable to walk, does not remember her but believes her after she describes the scar on his chest. As they stay together, Erzulie gives them the gift of love (Human Heart). Daniel ignores the townspeople's gossiping (Pray (Reprise)) over the unlikely relationship of a rich Beauxhomme and a poor peasant. Daniel delights in Ti Moune's differences from the rich girls in his life, noting that "some you marry, some you love" (Some Girls).
At a ball held at the hotel, Andrea Deveraux, a daughter of Daniel's family friends, cajoles Ti Moune to dance for them (her ulterior motive being to make her look bad in front of the grande hommes). Ti Moune does dance and gains the admiration of the rich society members. Afterwards, Ti Moune learns that Daniel is engaged to be married to Andrea (When We Are Wed). Daniel, reminded of his responsibilities, must go through with the arranged marriage, although he insists they can be lovers forever. Ti Moune is crushed. Papa Ge reappears and reminds Ti Moune of her promise to exchange her life for Daniel's – but says she can revoke the bargain if she kills Daniel (Promises/Forever Yours (Reprise)). Ti Moune enters Daniel's room with a knife, but she still loves him too much to kill him - proving love is stronger than death. However, Daniel finds Ti Moune with the knife. Appalled at the attempted murder, the Beauxhommes throw her out of the hotel grounds. She waits for days to meet Daniel at the gate. As Daniel and Andrea are married, they follow an old tradition of throwing coins to the peasants outside the hotel gates - Ti Moune calles to Daniel, who places a silver coin in Ti Moune's hand and leaves. The storytellers tell how Erzulie took her by the hand and led her to the ocean, where Agwé allowed her to drown peacefully, Papa Ge received her gently and brought her back to shore, where Asaka transformed her into a tree (A Part Of Us).
The tree becomes a celebration of life and love that cracks open the gates of the hotel, allowing those of all social statuses to become one. Her legacy brings together another peasant girl and a new young grande homme, Daniel's son, as they play in her branches. The storytellers share with them a retelling of the story how a peasant girl proved the power of love could bring together the people of the island. It helps us to remember, to forgive - and out of what we live and we believe, our lives become the stories that we weave. As the musical ends, the little girl who was frightened by the storm begins to retell the story herself (Why We Tell The Story).

Once on This Island was originally staged at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons, running from May 6, 1990 through May 27, 1990. The Broadway production opened on October 18, 1990 at the Booth Theatre and closed on December 1, 1991, after 469 performances and 19 previews. With direction and choreography by Graciela Daniele, the musical featured LaChanze as Ti Moune, Jerry Dixon as Daniel, Andrea Frierson as Erzulie, Sheila Gibbs as Mama Euralie, Kecia Lewis as Asaka, Gerry McIntyre as Armand, Milton Craig Nealy as Agwe, Eric Riley as Papa Ge, Ellis E. Williams as Tonton Julian and Afi McClendon as Little Ti Moune. In 2002, the original Broadway cast was reunited with special guest Lillias White to perform the show for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund.

The European premiere took place in 1994, hosted by the Birmingham Rep, and then transferred to the West End Royalty Theatre (now the Peacock Theatre) in September 1994. The production won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

The musical was revived in the UK in 2009 at Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse, and the Hackney Empire Theatre in London. Susie McKenna directed, with Sharon D. Clarke reprising her 1994 role as Asaka.
In June 2012, the Paper Mill Playhouse presented a production directed by Thomas Kail,[5] Syesha Mercado as Ti Moune[6] and Darius de Haas as Agwe.

• Prologue/"We Dance" - Storytellers
• "One Small Girl" - Mama Euralie, Tonton Julian, Little Ti Moune, and Storytellers
• "Waiting for Life" - Ti Moune and Storytellers
• "And the Gods Heard Her Prayer" - Asaka, Agwe, Erzulie, and Papa Ge
• "Rain" - Agwe and Storytellers
• "Pray" - Ti Moune, Mama Euralie, Tonton Julian, Guard and Storytellers
• "Forever Yours" - Ti Moune, Daniel and Papa Ge
• "The Sad Tale of the Beauxhommes" - Armand and Storytellers (Cut from MTI's Junior Version)
• "Ti Moune"- Ti Moune, Mama Euralie, Tonton Julian
• "Mama Will Provide" - Asaka and Storytellers
• "Waiting for Life" (Reprise) - Ti Moune (Cut from MTI's Junior Version)
• "Some Say" - Storytellers (Cut from MTI's Junior Version)
• "The Human Heart" - Erzulie and Storytellers
• "Pray" (Reprise) - Storytellers
• "Some Girls" - Daniel (Cut from MTI's Junior Version)
• "The Ball" - Andrea, Daniel, Ti Moune, and Storytellers
• "When We Are Wed" - Andrea, Daniel and Ti Moune (Partially cut in MTI's Junior Version)
• "Forever Yours" (Reprise) - Papa Ge, Ti Moune, Erzulie, and Storytellers
• "A Part of Us" - Mama Euralie, Tonton Julian, Little Ti Moune, and Storytellers
• "Why We Tell the Story" - Storytellers

Cut songs include "Come Down From the Tree" and "When Daniel Marries". "Come Down From the Tree", was a song for Mama Euralie; it is included in several recordings, including Audra McDonald's How Glory Goes.

• Ti Moune, a peasant girl
• Daniel Beauxhomme, a grande homme; Ti Moune's love interest ("Beauxhomme" means "beautiful man").
• Papa Ge, sly Demon of Death; the main antagonist of the show. He tricks the main character into giving her life for another. He is seen as a skeleton and is very sneaky. The people on the island fear him because of what he represents: the unknown that is death.
• Erzulie, beautiful Goddess of Love; the foil to Papa Ge
• Agwe, God of Water
• Asaka, Mother of the Earth
• Mama Euralie, Ti Moune's adoptive mother
• Tonton Julian, Ti Moune's adoptive father
• Andrea Deveraux, Daniel's promised wife; also "Madame Armand"
• Armand, Daniel's stern father; also "Armand", the ancestor
• Gatekeeper, the Hotel Beauxhomme's fierce guard (commonly played by Armand)
• Little Ti Moune, Ti Moune as a child; also "The Little Girl"
• Daniel's Son, Daniel's young son (commonly played by Daniel)
• Storytellers/Gossips, various Grands Hommes and peasants (in most productions, the storytellers are shown as playing the parts of the Gods)

Note: The original cast was chosen along racial lines, with darker-skinned actors portraying the peasants, and lighter-skinned actors portraying the upper-class landowners. In the script, the writers provide small line changes that can be used to remove references to skin color to accommodate multi-ethnic productions, while preserving the storyline about differences between the upper and lower classes.

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Once on this Island

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Once on this Island

Version 1

Once on this Island (1990-04-Playwrights Horizons-Off Broadway)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Playwrights Horizons (Broadway (Off) - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 1 mois 3 semaines
Nombre : 60 représentations
Première Preview : 06 April 1990
Première: 06 April 1990
Dernière: 24 May 1990
Mise en scène : Graciela Daniele
Chorégraphie : Graciela Daniele
Producteur :
Star(s) :

Version 2

Once on this Island (1990-10-Booth Theatre-Broadway)

Type de série: Broadway Transfer
Théâtre: Booth Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 1 an 1 mois 2 semaines
Nombre : 19 previews - 469 représentations
Première Preview : 02 October 1990
Première: 18 October 1990
Dernière: 01 December 1991
Mise en scène : Graciela Daniele
Chorégraphie : Graciela Daniele
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Jerry Dixon, Andrea Frierson, Sheila Gibbs, La Chanze, Kecia Lewis-Evans, Afi McClendon, Gerry McIntyre, Milton Craig Nealey, Nikki Rene, Eric Riley & Ellis E. Williams

Version 3

Once on this Island (1994-09-Royalty Theatre-London)

Type de série: Original London
Théâtre: Peacock Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée :
Nombre : 145 représentations
Première Preview : 28 September 1994
Première: 28 September 1994
Dernière: Inconnu
Mise en scène : David Toguri • Gwenda Hughes
Chorégraphie : David Toguri
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Lorna Brown (Ti Moune), Anthony Corriette (Daniel), P.P. Arnold (Erzulie, goddess of Love), Sharon D. Clarke (Asaka, goddess of Earth), Clive Rowe (Papa Ge - Death) , Trevor Michael Georges (The Water God), Suzanne Packer, Shezwae Powell, Mark Vincent, Johnny Worthy
Commentaires : Based on the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy, this is basically an all-black adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Mermaid” story. The musical originally opened on Broadway in October 1990 and ran for 469 performances. The British premiere opened at the Birmingham Rep in July 1994 and immediately transferred to the West End.

Version 4

Once on this Island (2017-12-Circle in the Square Theatre-Broadway)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Circle in the Square Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : Se joue actuellement
Nombre :
Première Preview : 09 November 2017
Première: 03 December 2017
Dernière: Open end
Mise en scène : Michael Arden
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Hailey Kilgore (as Ti Moune), Alex Newell (as Asaka), Tamyra Gray (as Papa Ge), Quentin Earl Darrington (as Agwe), Darlesia Cearcy (as Erzulie until Nov 28), Michelle T. Williams (as Erzulie from Nov 30 to Jun 2) Isaac Powell (as Daniel), Phillip Boykin (as Tonton Julian), Kenita R. Miller (as Mama Euralie), Alysha Deslorieux (as Andrea), David Jennings (as Armand), and Emerson Davis / Mia Williamson (as the Little Girl)
Presse : "The musical Once on This Island has held a special place in my heart since I saw the original production back in 1990. The infectious music and romantic tale brought a unique temperament to a traditional medium. The show has lost none of its luster over the years, and in this revival production the beauty of this musical has been given its full due and then some." NY Theatre Guide

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