Once On This Island – Theatre Review


Gabi Caballero

Misty Brown, Xavier Ehresman, Noah LaClair

The IRHS Drama Program had been tirelessly preparing for their performance of the Musical Once On This Island for the last few months now; they performed for the first time on Friday, and had two other performances this weekend. The musical is ironically set on a warm and beautiful tropical island, which is far from this horrid NY winter weather the actors were experiencing all throughout rehearsal. Nevertheless, the cast and crew did a fantastic job of making the audience feel like they were a part of the dream-like setting in numerous ways.

These are some of the students who played the main roles: Misty Brown as Ti Moune, Xavier Ehresman as Daniel Beuxhomme, Noah LaClair as Papa Ge, Nikki Marshall as Erzulie, Weston Ebbrecht as Agwe, and Joanna Hecker as Aska.

The characters were convincing, all dressed in ornate, tropical costumes as they energetically paraded around the huts, hills, and beaches that the stage’s scenery depicted. The story-line was engaging as well; a tropical-themed Cinderella with the twists of wagering gods and a cultural divide. This experience had both a tribal sort of feel and a more modern side, and everybody watched as the two worlds collided into one. In addition to the costumes and the story-line, the  interaction that the cast had with the audience (as they continuously paraded down the crowded theater’s isles) was constantly surprising and fun.

One could definitely tell that a lot of time and work was put into painting platforms, staircases, potted plants, and other features that transformed the stage into the tropics. A clothesline hung on one side of the stage, colorful birds flew through the air, rain poured down at the command of the god of water… The effects were well thought-out and engaging.

But even with all that, a musical is nothing without the singing. The vocal talent displayed by the cast was outstanding; each of the actors seemed to be made for his or her individual role. The chorus sounded great together, and the main characters had booming solos that took the audience’s breath away. All in all, the show was unarguably a huge success.