Read the Reviews for Broadway’s New Once on This Island | Playbill

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The Verdict Read the Reviews for Broadway’s New Once on This Island The Michael Arden-helmed revival stars Lea Salonga, Alex Newell, and newcomer Hailey Kilgore.

The 1990 musical Once on This Island returns to Broadway in a new revival, which officially opened at the Circle in the Square Theatre December 3. Michael Arden, who earned a Tony nomination for the 2015 revival of Spring Awakening, directs the new staging, set in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

Hailey Kilgore Joan Marcus

Leading the cast is 18-year-old newcomer Hailey Kilgore, who takes on the central role of young peasant girl Ti Moune. Among those joining her on stage are Tony winner Lea Salonga as Goddess of Love Erzulie, Glee’s Alex Newell as Asaka, Mother of Earth, Quentin Earl Darrington (Cats) as God of Water Agwe, and Merle Dandridge (Tarzan) as Papa Ge, Demon of Death.

Read what critics had to say in the reviews below. Playbill will continue to update this page as more reviews come in.

amNY (Matt Windman)

Broadway News (Charles Isherwood)

Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones)

The Daily Beast (Tim Teeman)

Deadline (Jeremy Gerard)

Entertainment Weekly (Breanne L. Heldman)

The Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney)

HuffPost (Christian Lewis)

Newsday (Barbara Schuler)

NY Daily News (Joe Dziemianowicz)

The New York Times (Jesse Green)

Time Out New York (Adam Feldman)

Towleroad (Naveen Kumar)

Variety (Marilyn Stasio)

The Wrap (Robert Hofler)

Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold are lead producers for the first-ever Broadway revival of the musical, which marked the Broadway debut of the Tony-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The collaborators are also currently represented on Broadway with the stage adaptation of Anastasia.

The company of storytellers also includes Tony nominee Phillip Boykin as Tonton Julian, Kenita R. Miller as Mama Euralie, Isaac Powell as Daniel, Alysha Deslorieux as Andrea, and David Jennings as Armand. Rounding out the cast are Darlesia Cearcy, Rodrick Covington, Cassondra James, David Jennings, Grasan Kingsberry, Tyler Hardwick, Loren Lott, T. Oliver Reid, and Aurelia Williams.


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. The new production frames the story on an island left reeling with the aftermath of a hurricane.

The creative team consists of choreographer Camille A. Brown, original orchestrator Michael Starobin, and vocal arranger AnnMarie Milazzo, as well as Dane Laffrey (scenic design), Clint Ramos (costume design), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting designers), Peter Hylenski (sound designer), John Bertles/Bash The Trash (Unusual Instruments), Cookie Jordan (hair/wig & makeup designer), Chris Fenwick (music supervisor), Alvin Hough, Jr. (music director), David Perlow (associate director), Nikki M. James (assistant director), Rickey Tripp (associate choreographer), and Telsey + Co / Craig Burns, CSA (casting agent).

Take a Sneak Peek at Once on This Island With Lea Salonga, Hailey Kilgore, and Alex Newell

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