TPAC celebrates love and life in ‘Once on This Island’

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Winner of the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, “Once on This Island” is the tale of Ti Moune, played and sung beautifully as an adult by Courtnee Carter.

Ti Moune is a fearless peasant girl from a mythical island in the French Antilles. She is in search of her place in the world and is ready to risk her life for love. 

Guided by the mighty island gods, Ti Moune had already survived a horrific hurricane as a young girl by floating on a board back to the devastated island. 

As she grows up, she decides to set out on a dangerous journey to reunite her with the man she had saved from death, and who captured her heart. Race, money and power interfere with her search, as this colorful, emotional, wonderful song-and-dance-filled island version of “Romeo and Juliet” fills the stage with native villagers as they pass on the story by reenacting it around the native fire pit, as the village storyteller recites Ti Moune’s story, starting with the words, “Once on this Island  ...”

“Once on this Island’s” production is delightfully directed by two-time Tony Award-nominated director Michael Arden and choreographed with a strong earthy imagination by acclaimed Camille A. Brown, and with an amazing score from Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The intensely colorful and beautiful costumes are by Clint Ramos. The play, along with its brilliant cast, tell its moving story with a warm, wonderful, bright island palate that brought the audience to its feet with heartfelt applause as the story of Ti Moune ended for the night. 

The production is unique, as 55 audience members are chosen before the show, many from charities and other special school groups, to sit on stage as part of the villagers around the village fire.

The show runs at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center until Oct. 20. Ticket information is at tpac.org, or call 615-782-4040, and remember, just across the street at the Historic Heritage Hotel, valet parking allows you dinner and a show parking at one special much lower price. As for your car, say hi to Donald Kirby, as he and the other great valets can get you home fast when the show is over.

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