BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge brings you video interviews and performance footage from yesterday's Once On This Island press preview at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse. Ridge speaks with Lynn Ahrens about the show's "brilliant cast," choreographer Bradley Rapier on giving the actors controlled freedom in dance numbers, musical director and orchestrator Lynne Shankel about developing all-new orchestrations for the show's seven pieces, director Thomas Kail's take on how Once On This Island's score "makes you feel better about the world," and company members Courtney Harris (Little Ti Moune), Alan Mingo, Jr. (Papa Ge), Jerold E. Solomon (Armand), Kenita R. Miller (Mama Euralie), Courtney Reed (Andrea), Saycon Sengbloh (Erzulie), AureLia Williams (Asaka), Darius de Haas (Agwe), Kevin R. Free (Tonton Julian) and Syesha Mercado (Ti Moune) on building a community on stage.
Watch the video below!
More than 20 years after its premiere, Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens are re-inventing their first musical with Tony-nominated director Thomas Kail (In the Heights, Lombardi, Magic/Bird), choreographer Bradley Rapier (So You Think You Can Dance, Jesus Christ Superstar) and new orchestrations by music director Lynne Shankel (Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Altar Boyz). Once On This Island begins performances on Wednesday, May 30, 2012, and runs through Sunday, June 24, 2012.
American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado has been cast as Ti Moune. Broadway veteran Darius de Haas will portray Agwe. De Haas was seen on Broadway in Rent (Collins/Angel/Benny), Dreamgirls (C.C. White), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Encore's Broadway Bash and Carousel (Mr. Snow) at Lincoln Center. Kevin R. Free will play Tonton Julian. Free was named a Person of the Year in 2010 by NYTheatre.com for noteworthy contributions to New York Theater. In NYC, Free was featured in From My Hometown, The Conjure Man Dies and Taking a Chance on Love. Adam Jacobs will play Daniel. Jacobs is currently featured in Disney's The Lion King on Broadway. Jacobs played Marius in the recent Broadway revival of Les Misérables and starred in the title role of the world premiere of Disney's Aladdin. For the full cast and creative team, click here.
Once On This Island will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, go to www.papermill.org.
To see BroadwayWorld's photo coverage of the event, click here, and be sure to check out the video below!