Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess, The Phantom of the Opera) and Tamyra Gray (American Idol, If/Then) will step into the roles of Agwe and Papa Ge, respectively, in the critically acclaimed revival of Once on This Island, which plays Broadway’s Circle in the Square.
Lewis and Grey, who join the cast January 8, will succeed original revival cast members Quentin Earl Darrington and Merle Dandridge. Dandridge exits for a contractual leave to shoot her television series Greenleaf. Darrington will also be on a contractual leave.
Directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (Deaf West’s Spring Awakening), Once on This Island officially opened to raves from critics December 3 at Circle in the Square. The musical features book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, the Tony-winning writing team behind Ragtime and Anastasia.
Once On This Island unfolds as a group of storytellers—caught in the midst of an unrelenting storm—recount the tale of Ti Moune, a Caribbean island country girl in love with an aristocrat who is sent on a transformative journey by the gods.
Once on This Island stars newcomer Hailey Kilgore as Ti Moune, with Miss Saigon Tony Award winner Lea Salonga (Erzulie), Glee groundbreaker Alex Newell (Asaka), Tony nominee Phillip Boykin (Tonton Julian), Kenita R. Miller (Mama Euralie), Isaac Powell (Daniel), Alysha Deslorieux (Andrea), and David Jennings (Armand).
Once on This Island’s score has been rebuilt through the use of multi-layered vocal orchestrations, along with instruments made out of found objects, including trash bins, flexible piping, and more. The new charts are the work of Once on This Island’s original orchestrator, Tony Award winner Michael Starobin, and vocal arranger AnnMarie Milazzo.
Starobin and composer Stephen Flaherty have retained segments of the score’s traditional Broadway musical pit instrumentation.
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