Get ready to be enchanted by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Broadway revival of Once on This Island. From the first note of music, the voices are each better than the last. This is a vocally glorious show. First seen on Broadway in 1990, from the moment we enter Circle in the Square’s theatre, we have landed on a ravaged Caribbean island, thanks to Dane Laffrey’s colorful set. A chicken, a goat, clothes drying on lines, tree limbs, religious shrines, and water that has washed up on shore almost make you feel the islands tropical breezes and the spirit of rebuilding.
Here the gods of love (Tony winner Lea Salonga), death (Merle Dandridge), earth (Alex Newell) and water (the vocally harmonious Quentin Earl Darrington) rule and dictate how lives are played out.
The show is to calm a young child (Mia Williamson) from the storm looming on the horizon. Here, the dark-skinned peasants labor on one side of the island, while the mixed-blood “grands hommes” descended from French colonists live in idle luxury on the other. Gates separate the two cultures. But despite everything, the peasants sing “We Dance.”
Enter Ti Moune (the iridescent Hailey Kilgore), who once was drowned and brought back to life by the gods. Now orphaned, Ti Moune is found in a tree by peasants (Kenita R. Miller and Phillip Boykin) who lovingly raise her. As Ti Moune grows up, she sees Daniel (Isaac Powell), a wealthy young man, driving and falls instantly in love. When his car crashes and he almost dies, she gives her life for his. When he is taken back by his people, Ti Moune follows despite being told he will never marry her. They are from two different worlds. She becomes Daniel’s lover, but he is already engaged. Ti Moune’s heart is broken, but she still believes the gods have destined her to love Daniel. When the god of death offers Ti Moune a chance for her life back, Ti Moune cannot follow through. She does not understand the differences between her and her lover, but she does understand love. The goddess of love turns Ti Moune into a tree to live and spread love forever.
This entire cast is bewitching and plays their parts with such skill that you do not know where to look at times. Newcomer Hailey Kilgore is a find. She brings such venerability and hope that we follow her tale wanting her to succeed even though the odds are clearly against her. Miller and Boykin are heartbreaking as the adoptive parents who understand that children must be free to break their own hearts. As the gods: Lea Salonga infuses the goddess of love with a roundedness and purity of voice; Quentin Earl Darrington as the god of water lulls you with his rich vocals; Papa Ge is played by Merle Dandridge switching roles from a male to a female – with her rich, lush lower register she growls and purr’s as death; but the most interesting of the gods is Asaka, played by the fabulous transgender Drag Queen Alex Newell – it is amazing to watch the audience cheer for this diva throwing epic shade.
Michael Arden’s direction is like a magical 3D storybook that comes to life before your eyes. I loved how Daniel’s car came into being as well as the inventive instruments that bring out the imagination. Camille A. Brown’s choreography shows an exuberance and the wild abandon of revelry.
The score brings a calypso beat that infuses joy and ballads that melt the heart. This is Ahrens and Flaherty at the beginning of their career. The orchestrations by AnnMarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin enhance the vocal harmonies.
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, create a lighting masterpiece with candles and alchemy that conjure a world beyond our reality. Clint Ramos’ costume designs delight, as he uses recyclable materials and an infusion of tropical fairytale gowns.
Based on Rosa Guy’s book, My Love, My Love: Or, The Peasant Girl, Once on This Island is basically a re-telling of The Little Mermaid without the happily ever after traditional ending.
Expect this show to receive multiple Drama Desk, Outer Critic, and Tony nominations. This is one show you should put on your Christmas list as a must see.
Once on This Island: Circle in the Square.
Avengers Tower Sets Meet And Greet With Signing
C. B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, and The LEGO Group Senior Graphic Designer Mark Tranter will be at the Fifth Ave LEGO Store this Friday, December 1st from 5pm-6pm signing the Avengers Tower set—the most iconic building in the Avengers Universe, with 5,201 pieces and an all-star cast of 31 figures.
The Avengers Tower, formerly known as Stark Tower, was a high-rise building complex located in Manhattan. Constructed by Tony Stark, the tower was powered by an Arc Reactor that made it capable of running itself for over a year. The top ten floors housed the research and development initiatives.
Following the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark Tower became the main headquarters of the Avengers. However, after the Ultron Offensive, Stark refurbished a Stark Industries warehouse upstate into the Avengers Compound to use as their primary base while Avengers Tower was repurposed for Stark Industries’ use. In the aftermath of the Avengers Civil War, Stark sold the tower and moved all of its equipment to the Avengers Compound.
By 2024, the tower, under its new ownership, had gone through extensive construction and renovation.
God Comes Back To Times Square
On Monday, November 27, the 2023 global Light the World Giving Machines campaign showed Christ’s light and love. Three machines were unwrapped in Times Square.
The theme for these machines is “Let Your Light Shine,” words the Savior of the world spoke to His followers. Giving Machines provide a unique path to spread His light — in your community or in a faraway country. Instead of buying something for yourself, your purchase is a donation for someone in need.
As we start the process of hoping there will be greater light in the world, we invite all to light the world,” said Elder David Buckner, an Area Seventy. “Today we start that as a process of hope and promise and joy that the world so desperately needs.”
Giving Machines, now in their seventh year, offer a unique way to serve and care for others. Instead of buying something for yourself, your purchase is a donation for someone in need. Across machines in all locations are a combined 1,200 different items requested by carefully screened and reputable local, national and international nonprofit organizations. These include meals, groceries, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education, bedding, hygiene kits, job and career training, crops and livestock (such as chickens, goats, pigs, ducks, sheep and beehives). Patrons can type in 777 to purchase one of everything in a machine.
The Giving Machines are open for business and have move to their permanent Manhattan holiday location: The Church of Our Savior at 59 Park Ave. (at 38th Street). They will be available through January 1, 2024. In total, Giving Machines are available in 60 additional locations in seven countries.
Besides the machines, 15 digital displays will be in Times Square featuring Christmas messages from the Church of Jesus Christ. These messages will include the birth of Jesus Christ and gratitude for local interfaith leaders and charities who are working with the Church to help those in need.
The nine participating national and global nonprofits are:
- African Girls Hope Foundation
- American Red Cross
- Church World Service
- iDE (International Development Enterprise)
- Lifting Hands International
- Mentors International
The Church and UNICEF have collaborated on various projects to help children and mothers around the world. The American Red Cross of Greater New York, mission is to alleviate human suffering during times of disasters and emergencies. They provides 40% of the blood supply in the U.S. CARE has projects in over 111 countries and reaches more than 170 million people annually. The Church World Service, said her organization is focus on immigration legal fees, offer menstrual health products to help women and more.
In total, more than 250 local, national and global nonprofits are participating this year — more than all previous years combined.
It is time to bring light to what is admittedly a very dark world.
The Broadway Green Alliance Is Turning 15
This fall, the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) celebrates its 15th year as an industry-wide initiative that educates, motivates, and inspires the entire theatre community and its patrons to adopt environmentally friendlier practices on Broadway and beyond. To mark this milestone, the BGA will host a free celebratory “bike-powered” concert and birthday bash on Monday, October 23rd in the New Amsterdam Room at the New Amsterdam Theatre (214 W 42nd Street) which will be streamed live on Stars in the House.
The in-person event begins at 5:00pm ET with limited tickets available, and the live-stream concert begins at 6:30pm ET on the Stars in the House YouTube channel at youtube.com/starsinthehouse.
Broadway performers and hosts joining the event include Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley (Stars in the House), Tony Award Nominee Kerry Butler (Beetlejuice), Tony Award Nominee Anika Larsen (Almost Famous), Tony Award Nominee Kenita R. Miller (For Colored Girls…), Tony Award Nominee Adam Pascal (Rent), Mara Davi (A Chorus Line), Jenn Gambatese (Mrs. Doubtfire), Jackie Hoffman (Xanadu), James T. Lane (Chicago), Patti Murin (Frozen), Rachel Webb (& Juliet), and more to be announced.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Gutenberg! The Musical! Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells
On October 12th, Gutenberg! The Musical! opened on Broadway. Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells the original stars of The Book of Mormon are back together again, in a new musical from the guys who wrote Beetlejuice and the guy who directed Beetlejuice and Moulin Rouge. It’s the story of two best pals named Bud and Doug who put on a show together because they just love each other so damn much. It’s art imitating life imitating art!
Theatre News: Gutenberg! The Musical!, Spamalot, Madwomen Of The West and Hadestown
Last night, three-time Tony Award winner Nathan Lane made a surprise cameo in the role of ‘The Producer’ opposite Tony Award nominees Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells at the star-studded Broadway opening night of Gutenberg! The Musical! at the James Earl Jones Theatre (138 West 48th Street).
Lane, wearing the show’s signature mustard yellow trucker cap emblazoned with the word ‘Producer,’ took the stage and said, “I’m a famous Broadway producer. Perhaps you’ve heard of me. The name is Bialystock…. Max Bialystock,” a nod to Lane’s Tony winning role in the Mel Brooks’ musical The Producers. Lane also exclaimed, “This show is fantastic. I had the same feeling when I saw Cats!”
Lane is the latest star to join Gutenberg! in the role of ‘The Producer.’ During previews Gad and Rannells have also been joined by Cynthia Erivo, Jonathan Groff, JJ Abrams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nikki M. James, F. Murray Abraham, Annaleigh Ashford, and Leslie Odom Jr.
Gutenberg! The Musical! is playing a strictly limited engagement at the Jones Theatre through Sunday, January 28, 2024 only.
Pictures were released for the first look at Spamalot. As previously announced, Spamalot features
Tony Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (Waitress) as Patsy
Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin, Hamilton) as King Arthur
Taran Killam (“Saturday Night Live”) as Lancelot
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (Beetlejuice) as The Lady of the Lake,
Tony Award nominee Ethan Slater (SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical) as The Historian/Prince Herbert
Jimmy Smagula (Billy Elliot) as Sir Bedevere
Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie (“Shrinking,” Torch Song) as Sir Robin
and Nik Walker (Hamilton) as Sir Galahad with David Josefsberg, Graham Stevens, Daniel Beeman, Maria Briggs, Gabriella Enriquez, Michael Fatica, Denis Lambert, Shina Ann Morris, Kaylee Olson, Kristin Piro, Drew Redington, Tyler Roberts, Anju Cloud, Darrell T. Joe, Lily Kaufmann, and Charlie Sutton. Iglehart, Kritzer, Smagula, Urie and Walker will be reprising their roles from the record-breaking sold-out run at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Brooke Adams will join Caroline Aaron, Marilu Henner, and Melanie Mayron, under the direction of Thomas Caruso. Ms Adams replaces the previously announced JoBeth Williams who had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict. Performances will begin Saturday November 11th at Actors Temple Theatre (339 West 47th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues). Opening Night is set for Monday December 11th. This limited Off-Broadway engagement will continue through Monday January 1st.
Performances will be Saturday at 2pm & 7pm, Sunday at 2pm, and Monday at 7pm. Actors Temple Theatre, located at 339 West 47th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues), is housed in the historical Actors Temple Synagogue in the heart of New York’s Times Square Theatre District. This theatre has been the home of the long-running production of Black Angels Over Tuskegee, which played for almost ten years year Off-Broadway, as well as Cowboy, Sistas, Soul Doctor, Zero Hour, Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken and Latkes, It’s Just Sex, The Big Voice: God or Merman?, Goldstein, The J.A.P. Show: Jewish-American Princesses of Comedy and Paul Mecurio’s Permission To Speak. Telecharge.com, by phone at 212/239-6200, or visit the Actors Temple Theater box office (open one hour prior to showtime). Service fees will apply for online or phone ordersTickets, which are now on sale, range from $39.50 to $119 and are available for purchase online at
Jordan Fisher will join the cast of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Hadestown as ‘Orpheus’ on Monday, November 20, 2023. Best known for his roles in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Teen Beach Movie franchises as well as his Broadway turns in Sweeney Todd, Dear Evan Hansen, and Hamilton, Fisher succeeds original cast member Reeve Carney. Carney will play his final performance as ‘Orpheus’ on Sunday, November 19. Carney began playing ‘Orpheus’ in 2017 at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre before transferring with the production to London’s West End and Broadway in 2018 and 2019.
“Reeve helped define both stories at the center of this show — the cosmic love story of a young man who changes the laws of the space time continuum to save his lover, and the political story of a ‘poor boy’ who gets angry enough to question ‘the king,’” said director Rachel Chavkin. “His extraordinary musicianship as guitarist and singer was an endless source of inspiration to both Anaïs and I in the creation of the show, and his elegant leadership as an actor and company member, both onstage and off, will be deeply missed.”
“My gratitude goes out to Anäis Mitchell and all who have touched this show with their divine intention,” said Reeve Carney. “To my fellow cast mates, who have been with me in the trenches, giving of themselves freely and unceasingly, on and off the stage. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And to our incredible audiences here at The Walter Kerr Theater… It has been an honor bringing this story to life for you all night after night over these many years.”
Hadestown currently stars Tony Award winner Lillias White as Hermes, Solea Pfeiffer as Eurydice, Betty Who as Persephone, and Phillip Boykin as Hades. They are joined by Amelia Cormack, Lindsey Hailes, and Brit West as the Fates. The chorus of Workers is played by Emily Afton, Malcolm Armwood, Chibueze Ihumoa, Alex Puette and Grace Yoo. The cast includes swings Sojourner Brown, Brandon Cameron, Tara Jackson, Max Kumangai, Alex Lugo, and Tanner Ray Wilson.
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