The New York Youth Theatre (NYYT) at Central Presbyterian Church on Manhattan's Upper East Side is currently running Once on This Island. The youth-oriented show opened March 10 and is scheduled to play through April 8.
With book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, Once on This Island was received well on Broadway in the late '80s. The Caribbean-themed musical, which preceded Ahrens and Flaherty's Tony-winning hit Ragtime, involves an island girl who falls in love with a man from "the other side of the island."
Once on This Island is based on Rosa Guy's novel, "My Love, My Love." The NYYT production is directed by Phill Greenland and Nicole C. Hudson. Lawrence Axmith is the show's producer. The production team comprises choreographer Mark Steiner, stage manager Kristina Hill, scenic/lighting designer Phill Greenland and lighting operator Nicky Liotta.
Musicians for the show include Phill Greenland, Lorraine Stobbe and Kathi Iwanusa and Matthew Iwanusa, whose father, Chuck Iwanusa is executive director of the International Jazz Alliance.
The NYYT production stars Mark Bannon, Erich Bergen, Chad Carstarphen, Sujana Chand, Jae Everett, Kira M. Hudson, Erin Iwanusa, Max Jenkins, Jessie LaGuerre, Chloe Levenson, Kate Pazakis, Will Perez and Sharon Quinn. Tickets are $12. The NYYT show runs at Central Presbyterian Church, 593 Park Avenue, 7th Floor. For reservations call (212) 888-0696.
-- By Murdoch McBride