Hello and Happy Entertainment Monday!!
I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I went to see Once On This Island at The Smith Center. I really was starting to feel like I wouldn’t, ever, be able to get this written but, when I sat down to write my Recipe Reviews yesterday, I was finally able to let all my extra pandemic-induced stress go, even if it was just for a moment.
By the time I hit that ‘Publish…‘ button, I was already feeling better than I had been all week and then, I logged onto WordPress today and was suddenly flooded with more happy emotions. Thank you so, so much for always boosting my spirits with your kindhearted, supportive comments and creative flow of words. ❤ You all mean more to me than you’ll ever know!
**P.S. Another reason I delayed this post for so long was because I accidentally deleted all the pictures/”proof” of me actually being there so, the only one I have is of my playbill (below), taken at home in my bathroom. Sorry!
P.P.S. There are NO spoilers below.**
When I first walked into the theater, the usher immediately let me know that no photos were allowed because the actors were already on stage and the curtains were pulled back. Everything was all set up for the show and some of the cast were moseying about, doing their daily tasks and socializing with each other, as if it were a normal day on their island.
Along with the rest of the audience, I sat and waited for the lights to turn off, a tiny bit confused on if I was supposed to be paying attention to what was happening or not. When the show officially started, though, it was definitely obvious. My full attention was caught.
There weren’t tons of scene changes but, I was incredibly wow’d by each one that there was. I noticed and appreciated every bit of intricate detail that went into the entire set.
Being able to witness how they put together some of the scenes was especially astounding, I was stunned when Daniel’s bed and room appeared. The cast moved their props and setting around in such a rhythmic way, while singing and dancing, I almost didn’t even realize it while it was happening.
I loved the actual sand on the ground of the island and the door that opened to the seemingly endless body of real water; it was mesmerizing. The most impressive part, though, was how easy it was for them to remove and replace both (when necessary), in that same smooth and nearly undetectable way.
Similar to the setting, there were little to no changes in the costumes but, they were perfect as is, anyways. Most characters wore the same outfit for the whole 90 minutes but, when there was a change, it was special and it meant something.
My favorite singing voice belonged to Tonton Julian who was played by Boise Holmes. His voice was silky and heart melting. I only wish I could have heard more of it! Mama Euralie, played by Danielle Lee Greaves, also won me over. Her strong voice soared and filled the entire room with no faults or falters. It was even more lovely during her softer, more tender lines.
As for Ti Moune, played by Courtnee Carter, she had the sort of voice that only sounded nice when she hit the bigger, higher, and longer notes. When her quieter parts came, she sounded shaky, pitchy and her words were very hard to understand yet, her performance still blew me away. She was so elegant and passionate; I believed every single line she delivered. Her dance scene made me cry, which has never happened before. I could not believe how effortless and cool every step she made was.
Papa Ge, played by Tamyra Gray, must be mentioned, as well. She was sexy and creepy at the same time, and her voice, MY GOSH. It was just classically gorgeous. I was on the edge of my seat every time she showed up, hoping she’d belt out a solo.
And, ooo, Tyler Hardwick as Daniel! I could see the definition of his beautiful muscles from my balcony seat! Nothing else about him was that special, though, I don’t have any complaints, either.
Not one song bothered or bored me but, “Ti Moune” sung by Tonton Julian, Mama Euralie, and Ti Moune is the one that stuck out to me the most. It marked the turning point in the story and it made my heart truly ache. Everyone sang flawlessly.
“A Part of Us” and “Why We Tell The Story” were the last two songs of the production and they so deserved to be. The way they summed up the tale, and made us understand what we had just seen, was genius.
Once On This Island was everything I look for in a musical. There was just the right balance of dancing, singing, and acting; none of it made me roll my eyes. I loved the fairy tale feel, with the narrators and such power behind the “lesson.” The plot was never too complex and the ending was always expected but, still, it cut deeply.