If you can’t fly to the Caribbean this week, how about enjoying its sounds and dance right here at home? Make plans to attend the musical production Once on This Island playing at Carver HS.
Once on This Island is a one-act musical with a book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. The story is based on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love or The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy. It is set in the French Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The show includes elements of the Romeo and Juliet. There are also elements of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Little Mermaid.
The musical premiered on Broadway in 1990. It received eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and Best Score.
The musical follows Ti Moune, a peasant girl, rescues a wealthy boy Daniel from the other side of the island. She falls in love with Daniel. Unbeknownst to Ti Moune, the pompous gods who preside over the island make a bet with one another. Which is stronger, love or death? The stakes being Ti Moune’s life. When she pursues Daniel, who has returned to his people, Ti Moune is shunned because of her lowly status. Her determination and capacity to love, though, is not enough to win Daniel’s heart. Ti Moune pays the ultimate price. But the gods turn Ti Moune into a tree. It grows so strong and so tall, it breaks the wall that separates the societies. In the end, Ti Moune’s love ultimately unites them.
This is no small event. More than 90 students comprise the cast and crew. The production has students from Carver HS, Drew Academy, Houston Academy and Bethune Academy. Several familiar faces are also taking part. Carver alumni Denzel Taylor, Ivan Geters and Elias Flores form part of the production team. Theater patron Mark Williams who wanted to help also stepped in to assist. Roshunda Jones is proud of everyone taking part. Jones is Carver’s theater director.
“The cast and crew who have been working since October to bring this story to life,” said Jones. “I‘m so proud of the journey the company has taken!”
Director: Roshunda Jones @ Carver HS
Technical Director/Choreographer: Jabari Collins @ Carver HS
Choreographers: Carver HS Dance Director/Choreographer Sarita Salinas & Carver HS Alumnus Denzel Taylor
Musical Director: Mark Williams, Theater Patron
Orchestra: Drew Academy Choir Director Courtnay Holiday, Carver HS Alumnus Ivan Geters & Current Carver HS Orchestra Student Sade Franklin
Sound Designer: Carver HS Alumnus Elias Flores
According to Jones, the campus always tries to use students from the feeder schools in a musical. This year, they sought to include as many campuses as possible.
“It‘s important to incorporate our younger magnet school students,” said Jones. “It gives them an example of what to expect when they reach high school. Many of the current high school students began taking part in musicals at a young age. They started while attending the feeder campuses (lower level magnet schools).
“We also hope these productions and chance to work with alumni inspire students. We want students to stay motivated in the magnet program. Collaborations keep our magnet program strong and it builds positive relationships. The performing arts teachers at all the campuses are doing a wonderful job. Students learn by example too. It is good for the students to see the adults working and collaborating together.”
Jabari Collins and Jones hope the Aldine community comes out to support the students.
“The musical is an educational and culturally eye–opening experience for everyone,” said Collins. “The students have showcased a great love and passion for each other and the production as a whole.”
“I would love for the Aldine community to come out and enjoy the musical and the students,” said Jones. “This is a heartwarming story that celebrates love and life.”
Contact Jones at (281) 878-1521 or by email [email protected] for more information.
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