This past May I had the pleasure of seeing a few Broadway shows while I was in New York for a week. Shows including Disney’s Frozen The Musical, Disney’s The Lion King and the unmatched Tony Award winning, Once On This Island revival.
Nearing the night of the show, I had just been sent the cast list for SDP's Once on this Island Jr. and was so thrilled to meet the Broadway cast. After the necessary musical theatre kid geeking out session (including buying WAY to much merchandise and taking pictures in front of posters until the inevitable “Storage is Full” popped up on my phone) I headed into the theater. As I walked into the house, I was greeted by one small girl reading a book onstage. What surrounds her is quite interesting. Sand, debris and a small pond encircled “Little Ti Moune” as she begins to interact with other cast mates on stage.
The next thirty minutes the audience met a goat, two chickens and watched the lively characters take everyday items and use them to form their costumes. Once the show began, my eyes were fixed on the sorrow, superb talent and storytelling that was being created right before me. From Ti Moune’s roaring entrance to Alex Newell receiving a standing ovation after “Mama Will Provide”, the whole show was a spectacle filled with heartwarming moments, jaw dropping staging, and superb acting across the board. Seeing this show was a dream come true and it was some of the best storytelling I’ve ever seen.
Once the cast took their bows and the audience wiped a few tears of joy off their face, we all rushed out to the stage door. The thought of meeting some of these cast members blew my mind after seeing their performance that night. The audience of adoring fans were wild and joyous as the parade of cast members poured out of the theater. We got to see so many awe-inspiring performers that night, including Lea Salonga (Erzulie) the voice of “Mulan” and “Princess Jasmine” in the Disney films. As well as Alex Newell (Unique in “Glee”- Asaka), Kenita R. Miller (The best acting I’ve ever seen- Mama Euralie) and Quentin Earl Jones (Agwe). I was so fortunate enough to meet Quentin and talk to him about the role of ‘Agwe’. He was also kind enough to send a message to the SDP cast, “break a leg to the whole cast”. It was extraordinary!
I told a lot of the cast members about SDP’s upcoming production and they all sent their love and support. The incredible man who plays Ton Ton Julian (Phillip Boykin) gave us his official blessing from Broadway. LIKE HOW CRAZY AND KIND?!? The Broadway community is so loving and caring about all aspects of theatre (even if it’s a thousand miles away!)
It meant the world to me that the broadway gang wished the whole cast of SDP’s production of ‘Once On This Island Jr.’ “ a broken leg” all the way from 50th street in Manhattan! The whole experience was so amazing and I am so grateful for that night and how kind the cast was to me and how supportive they are about educational theatre.