The Slow Burn Theater Company and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts present Once On This Island, winner of the Olivier Award, presented by the American National Bank. The original production earned eight Tony nominations for its Broadway run, including Best Musical, Book and Score, and the 2017 production won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The score was written by the Tony Award-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Seussical) and features music with a Calypso flair. The immersive set was designed and created by Cliff Price using found objects and salvaged materials that add to the magic of the storytelling.
Once On This Island runs now through February 20 at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater with
performances from Tuesday to Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m., Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. with
Matinees Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets start at $49 and are available online at BrowardCenter.org or Ticketmaster.com; by phone at 954.462.0222 or in person at the Broward Center AutoNation Box Office.
Set in the French West Indies, this coming-of-age story explores the concepts of life, pain, grief,
faith, hope and the power of love to bring people of different social classes together. Ti Moune,
a peasant girl, saves a rich boy on the other side of the island, Daniel, with whom she
he’s falling in love. Unbeknownst to Ti Moune, the pompous gods who preside over the island make a
bet among yourselves on which is stronger, love or death, the stake being the life of Ti Moune.
When she pursues Daniel, who has returned to his own, Ti Moune is shunned because of his
modest status. Her determination and ability to love, however, are not enough to win Daniel’s heart, and Ti Moune pays the ultimate price; but the gods transform Ti Moune into a tree that grows so strong and tall that it breaks down the wall that separates societies and ultimately unites them.
The musical also examines how the practice of colorism – the discrimination by which those who have
fair skins are treated more favorably than those with darker skins within the same race –
impacts the characters and the relationship between Ti Moune and Daniel.
“When Matthew and I founded Slowburn, one of our main goals was to select
musicals that would encourage audiences to explore social issues, challenge belief systems
and help audiences look at themselves and others in new ways,” says Patrick Fitzwater, Artistic Director
director and co-founder of the Slow Burn Theatre. “Our hope is that this story will spark conversation
around this complex issue like this.”
The main cast includes the following: Brinie Wallace as Ti Moune; Chloe Nicole as
Petit Ti Moune; Jade Jones, as mom Euralie; Geoffrey Short as Tonton Julian; jemarcus
Riggins as Daniel Beauxhomme; Elijah Word as Papa Ge; Kareema Khouri as Asaka; Nat
Promkul as Agwe; Lillie Thomas as Erzulie; Jabriel Shelton as Armand, Daniel’s father; and
Jasmine Lacullo as Andrea.
Storytellers include Andre Russell; Daryl Patrice, Reynell Reynaldo, Jasmine Lacullo, Jerel
Brown, Nayomi Braaf, Nicole Dikun; Reynell Reynaldo. Directed and choreographed by Patrick Fitzwater and assistant director Marlo Rodriquez, the creative team consists of musical director Eden Marte; Choreographer, Jerel Brown; Production Stage Manager, Jackie Lawlor; technical director, Alex Fine; scenic designer, Cliff Price; lighting designer, George Jackson; costume designer, Lenora Nikitin; sound designer, Patrick Fitzwater; accessories designer, Jameelah Bailey; Makeup artist, Stephanie LoVerde; COVID Compliance Manager, Anna Kornerup: Chief Carpenters, Johnbarry Greene and Jordan Armstrong; and music tracks, The MT Pit.
Funding for this project is provided in part by the Broward County Board of Commissioners
County, Florida, as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council. Sponsored in part by the
State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on
Arts and culture.
Photo credit: Gregory Reed