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Darlington to present "Once On This Island" in Downtown Rome, Feb. 17-19

2/8/2017 9:33:00 AM, 1,151 views

Darlington’s fine arts department will present "Once On This Island" Feb. 17-19 at the Rome City Auditorium. Doors will open Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., with showtime at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday matinee begins at 2:30 p.m., after doors open at 2 p.m.

In almost non-stop song and dance, "Once On This Island" is a highly original and theatrical Caribbean tale featuring words and lyrics from Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. Based on “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy, the Broadway production of "Once On This Island" opened in May 1990 and was nominated for several Tony awards, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Direction and Best Choreography. 

Storytellers, a group of peasants, begin the audience's journey during a storm as they attempt to soothe a frightened child by telling her the story of Ti Moune. This is the story of a peasant girl who catches the attention of the wily gods that watch over her island, and her love for Daniel, the rich heir of the Hotel Beauxhomme. As the storm descends upon the island, the peasants transport the frightened young girl into an almost mythological story where the fantastical gods that rule the island wager, guiding Ti Moune on a quest to test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred and death. This is a journey to see if she can prove that love is strong enough to endure any trial. 

"This play is a ‘bucket list’ play for me, I have wanted to direct it since 1999. From a directorial standpoint, there is a tremendous amount of choreography, complex music to tackle and deep emotional character demands. It is a challenging show. I stepped back and looked at our department and I just felt like it was a great time to direct it. Personally, and probably most importantly, I’ve always loved it’s message about the enduring power of love,” said Shelley Daniel, Darlington's theatre director. “This play encourages the audience that even though things may not go as planned to not lose our faith in love. There are core eulogy values woven throughout. The story addresses universal conflicts we face and how we as human beings draw lines and separate ourselves. In the end, it shows us how love can walk right over those boundaries, breaking down barriers and guiding us into harmony. The foundation of this play’s structure is a choral storytelling style, which means our cast is on stage for most of the play, giving the actors lots of stage time." 

The cast of “Once On This Island” includes senior Palesa Molapo playing the part of Ti Moune, the peasant girl, raised by adoptive parents Ton Ton Julian and Mama Euralie, played by seniors Miju Obanikoro and Carson Barnes. The powerful island gods are played by senior Caroline Schrum and juniors Brieanne Bishop, Morgan Adams and Long Nguyen. Daniel, the rich heir of the Hotel Beauxhomme, is played by junior Nolan Wilson. Daniel’s “promised wife” Andrea Deveraux is played by junior Stacy Chen. 

The storytellers bringing the audience’s journey to life include Gabby Jones, Griffin Wheeler, Kathryn Chunn, Morgan Ivester, Rainey Scarborough, Hillary Tunnell, Nick Powell, Emily Taylor, Annabelle Scarborough, Jamila Wood, Aaryn Ijames, Bryson Collier, Stella Miao, Amy Kim, Trang Khuc, Maggie Inman, Olivia Harper, Amber Fields, Alan Shorey, Giana Pieroni, Wilson Zhang and Guila Verzino. 
Senior Fifi Tran serves as first assistant director along with sophomore Amelia Allen serving as second assistant director. Stage managers responsible for the stage, props and costume crews include Ellen Jiang, MaTyah Jackson and Sarah Flaniken. The vivacious company of 72 encompasses grades 9-12 along with third-grader Beyonce Martinez playing the part of the peasant child, the frightened young girl lost in the storm. 

Darlington’s new Upper School Choral Director Ben McVety is working diligently to prepare the singers and Instrumental Director Jonathan Broome is leading the live music for the show. The team of 10 Darlington musicians includes Sam Kim, Tanner Shadday, Sam Ding, Nora Winkler, Caleb Baldwin, Zane Anderson, David Kim, Michaela Hu, Nicholas Jones and Tammy Yan. 

“The amount of student involvement in this production is impressive,” continued Daniel. “We have a few adults involved simply as design mentors, but most of the set and costumes are being built by the students. Our crews are taking advantage of time during their ‘trash to treasure’ iPeriod to upcycle and repurpose costumes. This year’s new stagecraft class is building the set. This very diverse company is truly collaborating to bring the musical to life and it is absolutely inspirational.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased in advance online at www.darlingtonschool.org/musical, or at the door on the day of the show. General admission tickets are $10. Tiger Booster Club members and current Darlington families may request reserved seating for no additional cost. The general public can purchase tickets in the reserved section for $15 each. All reserved tickets are offered online only and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For more information about Darlington's production of “Once On This Island," contact the box office at 706-368-5256, or by email at boxoffice@darlingtonschool.org.

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Rhonda Childs ’80
9:35 PM
Can't wait to see the musical next week and so proud of our daughter's artwork which you can see on the poster advertising the musical!! Go Melinda!!





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