NSU Theatre and Dance to perform “Once on this Island”

“Once on this Island” will be presented by Northwestern State University Theatre and Dance Nov. 13-17 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Show time is Nov. 13-16 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. The play is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's “The Little Mermaid” in a Caribbean setting. The cast includes, front, Leonard Harris, center left to right Shangobunmi McAlpine and Austin Babin and, back left to right Hannah Hays and De Angelo Renard

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University Theatre and Dance will perform “Once on this Island” Nov. 13-17 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Show time is Nov. 13-16 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. Andrew Lewis is the director. NSU student Polanco Jones Jr. of Metairie is the choreographer.

“Once on this Island” is based upon the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy and is the Caribbean retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” In almost non-stop song and dance, this musical tells the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who rescues and falls in love with Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of her island. When Daniel is returned to his people, the fantastical gods who rule the island guide Ti Moune on a quest to test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred and death.

“It’s a sweet story about love,” said Lewis. “It also has the elements of four gods who are fighting each other for control.”

Lewis added eight shadow dancers who will be eight feet above the stage to add to the production.

“They will be a visual representation of what is going on,” he said. “I see them as ancestors of the characters that have gone before.”

“Once on this Island” has been nominated for the Region VI Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Representatives from the Festival will attend the play and consider it for inclusion.

The cast is Breanna Collier of Bossier City as Ti Moune, Jori Jackson of  Shreveport as Mama Euralie, Alisha Munds of Shreveport as Asaka, Goddess of the Earth, Alexia Mullally of Houston as Erzulie, Goddess of Love, Sarah Roberts of Chattanooga, Tenn., as Andrea, Ebony Johnson of New Orleans as Little Ti Moune, David Brumfield of Prairieville as Daniel, Tyler Price of New Orleans as Tonton Julian, Julian Anderson of Slidell as Agwe, God of Water, Jones as Papa Ge, God of Death, Christian Dantes of Shreveport as Armand, Austin Babin of Gonzales, Shangobunmi McAlpine of New Orleans, DeAngelo Renard of Mandeville, Hannah Hays and  Hannah Williams of Baton Rouge and Leonard Harris of Baker as storytellers, and Kacey Garrett of Slidell, Claire Cook of Shreveport, Marlee Roberts of Natchitoches, Gregory Spencer of Crowley, Jacolby Glaude of Duson, L.G. Williams of New Orleans, Courtney Matthews of Kenner and Tori Cormier of Lake Charles as shadow dancers.