Once On This Island

Once on This Island Tickets

Tony Award nominee Michael Arden directs the Broadway revival of Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens' much-loved musical Once On This Island.

The musical originally premiered off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 1990 and transferred to Broadway in October of the same year. It ran for a total of 469 performances and received an impressive eight Tony Award nominations including "Best Musical". The West End premiere followed in 1994 and ultimately won the Olivier Award for "Best New Musical" at the 1995 ceremony.

In order to find the show's leading star to play Ti Moune, an international casting search was carried out until Arden found 18 year old Hailey Kilgore, who made her Broadway debut in the coveted role. She was backed up by a healthy dose of star power with the likes of Tony Award winner Lea Salonga and "Glee" star Alex Newell, taking on the roles of Erzulie (Goddess of Love) and Asaka (Mother of the Earth), respectively.

Arden's production in the round is staged on a sandy beach, following the aftermath of a natural disaster. The island natives recount the folktale of Ti Moune, a peasant orphan girl who rescues the life of - and falls in love with - a light-skinned boy named Daniel from the richer class. To her adoptive parents' dismay, she sets out on a journey to re-unite herself with Daniel, guided by a quartet of mercurial gods - Erzulie (Goddess of Love), Agwe (God of Water), Papa Ge (Demon of Death), and Asaka (Mother of the Earth). Their would-be union defies the strict rulings on class and color on the isle, but can love ultimately conquer all?

Flaherty & Ahrens' score is intoxicating with Caribbean influences and includes toe-tapping uptempo numbers such as “We Dance” and “Mama Will Provide” (with Alex Newell bringing the house down with the latter), as well as beautifully moving ballads like “The Human Heart”. Arden's gradual transformation of the islanders into their respective characters in the folktale is expertly visualised with the aid of acclaimed costume designer Clint Ramos, utilising items you might find simply washed up onto a beach. Kudos also go to the production team for creating an equally exhilirating and unnerving tropical storm within the confines of a theatre... Breathtaking! And Camille A. Brown's choreography is joyously infectious and sure to be a real contender by the time Awards Season rolls in.

Once on This Island is not only yet another reminder of the importance of diversity on Broadway, but could well be regarded as the surprise hit of the 2017-2018 Broadway season.

(Photos by Joan Marcus)

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Running time: 
1hr 30mins (no intermission)
17 images
About Once on This Island:

Once on This Island 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 musical transforms the reality of post-storm Haiti into a fantastical world bursting with Caribbean rhythms and dance.

Music by Stephen Flaherty, with Book & Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold
Michael Arden
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer
Peter Hylenski
Dane Laffrey
Camille A. Brown
Clint Ramos
Cast list:
Hailey Kilgore (as Ti Moune), Alex Newell (as Asaka), Lea Salonga (as Erzulie), Tamyra Gray (as Papa Ge), Quentin Earl Darrington (as Agwe), Isaac Powell (as Daniel), Boise Holmes (as Tonton Julian), Kenita R. Miller (as Mama Euralie), Alysha Deslorieux (as Andrea), David Jennings (as Armand), and Juliet Benn / Mia Williamson (as Little Girl)
Other info:
Music Supervision by Chris Fenwick, Music Direction by Alvin Hough, Jr., New Orchestrations by Michael Starobin, and Vocal Designs by AnnMarie Milazzo
Once on This Island Performance Dates & Times
Previews from: 
November 9, 2017
Opening date: 
December 3, 2017
January 6, 2019

Performance schedules for all shows are subject to change.

Circle in the Square Theatre

1633 Broadway (between Broadway and 8th Avenue - at 50th Street), New York, NY 10019
Nearest subway station:
50th Street stations

Latest Once on This Island News & Features

Alex Newell & Hailey Kilgore in Once on This Island
Once on This Island announces Broadway closing date
November 28, 2018

Producers of the Tony Award-winning "Best Revival of a Musical" Once on This Island have now announced that the production is set to play its final performance at the Circle in the Square Theatre on January 6, 2019. Director Michael Arden's stunning revival began previews on November 9, 2017, ahead of an official opening on December 3, and, upon closing, will have played a total of 29 previews and 458 regular performances.

Interview with Once on This Island star Kenita R. Miller
July 11, 2018

One of the most crowd-pleasing upsets at this year's Tony Awards ceremony was arguably Once on This Island's win in the category of "Best Revival of a Musical". Michael Arden's innovatively fresh production saw off strong competition from Carousel and My Fair Lady to take home the trophy and the box office at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre has been booming ever since.

Interview with Tony Award winner Lea Salonga
April 20, 2018

Tony Award winner Lea Salonga is a Broadway fan favorite, who shot to international musical theatre fame back in 1989 when she was cast as Kim in Cameron Mackintosh's world premiere of Miss Saigon in London's West End. After winning the Olivier Award, she made her Broadway debut in the production in 1991 at the Broadway Theatre and added a Tony Award to her list of accolades.

Alex Newell
Interview with Once on This Island and Glee star Alex Newell
December 8, 2017

There's nothing quite like getting a standing ovation on your Broadway debut and "Glee" star Alex Newell has been soaking them in eight times per week at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Director extraordinaire Michael Arden has put together a beautifully organic and stirring revival of Once on This Island, which has received rapturous reviews - including 5 stars from the New York Theatre Guide. It has also enabled Alex to achieve a childhood dream and tread the boards of Broadway.

Our Once on This Island Review

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.