Look Back at the Original Broadway Production of Once On This Island

Photo Features   Look Back at the Original Broadway Production of Once On This Island
The Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical, starring LaChanze, opened at the Booth Theatre October 18, 1990.
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Milton Craig Nealy, LaChanze, and Gerry McIntyre Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

Following its premiere at Playwrights Horizons, the original Broadway production of Once On This Island opened at the Booth Theatre October 18, 1990. The musical, featuring a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, played 19 previews and 469 performances before closing on December 1, 1991. The production would go on to garner eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical.

Starring Tony Award winner LaChanze as Ti Moune, Once On This Island tells the story of a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. When their divided cultures keep them apart, Ti Moune is guided by the powerful island gods Erzulie, Asaka, Papa Ge, and Agwe, on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart. The musical is based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy.

Flip through photos of the production below:

Rounding out the cast were Jerry Dixon as Daniel, Andrea Frierson as Erzulie, Sheila Gibbs as Mama Euralie, Kecia Lewis as Asaka, Afi Bijou as Little Ti Moune, Gerry McIntyre as Armand, Milton Craig Nealy as Agwe, Nikki Rene as Andrea, Eric Riley as Papa Ge, and Ellis E. Williams as Tonton Julian with Desiree Scott, Keith Tyrone, Fuschia Walker, and PaSean Wilson as understudies.

Directed and choreographed by Graciela Daniele, the production featured scenic design by Loy Arcenas, costume design by Judy Dearing, lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes, and sound design by Scott Lehrer.

A 2017 production, directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden, played the Circle in the Square Theatre, winning the Tony Award for best revival.

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