Michelle T. Williams & Lea Salonga

Michelle T. Williams departs Once on This Island as Lea Salonga is set to return

Original cast member Lea Salona will reprise the role of Erzulie for the final performances of the Broadway run of Once on This Island

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

On doctor's orders, Destiny's Child member and Grammy Award winner Michelle T. Williams has departed the Tony Award-winning "Best Revival of a Musical" Once on This Island at the Circle in the Square Theatre. She began her limited run as Erzulie, goddess of love, on November 30, 2018. The good news, however, is that original company member and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga is now set to reprise the role for the final performances of the Broadway engagement from December 27, 2018 throught to January 6, 2019. In the interim period, understudy Cassondra James is covering the role.

The principal cast of Once on This Island currently includes Tony Award nominee Hailey Kilgore (as Ti Moune), "Glee" star Alex Newell (as Asaka), Cassondra James (as Erzulie), Tamyra Gray (as Papa Ge), Quentin Earl Darrington (as Agwe), Isaac Powell (as Daniel), Kenita R. Miller (as Mama Euralie), Boise Holmes (as Tonton Julian), and David Jennings (as Armand).

Once on This Island began previews at the Circle in the Square on November 9, 2017, ahead of an official opening on December 3.

The musical features music by Tony Award winner Stephen Flaherty and a book & lyrics by Tony Award winner Lynn Ahrens.

Synopsis: "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."

Directed by Tony Award nominee Michael Arden, this new production features choreography by Camille A. Brown, music supervision by Chris Fenwick, music direction by Alvin Hough, Jr., new orchestrations by the musical's original orchestrator Michael Starobin, vocal designs by AnnMarie Milazzo, scenic design by Dane Laffrey, costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer and sound design by Peter Hylenski.

Once on This Island is produced on Broadway by Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold.

Once on This Island premiered off-Broadway at Playwright's Horizons in 1990 and transferred to Broadway in October of the same year. The Broadway production ran for a total of 469 performances and received an impressive total of eight Tony Award nominations including "Best Musical". Its West End premiere was staged in 1994 and ultimately won the Olivier Award for "Best New Musical" at the 1995 ceremony.

Once on This Island Tickets are available now for performances through to January 6, 2019.

(Photos by Joan Marcus)

Originally published on

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