Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

SESAME STREET’s Alan Muraoka Helms Olney Theatre Center’s ONCE ON THIS ISLAND

Olney Theatre Center, continues its critically-acclaimed 76th Anniversary season with the family musical Once On This Island April 9 – May 4, 2014 on the Mainstage.
olney_once on this island
From the Tony Award-winning creators of RAGTIME and SEUSSICAL comes a glorious, Caribbean-infused family musical of enormous heart and magical wisdom. In almost non-stop song and dance, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND follows the story’s young heroine, Ti Moune, on her quest to prove love is more powerful than the forces of prejudice, hatred and death.

Alan Muraoka

Alan Muraoka

Full of capricious gods, island magic, and joyous dance numbers, Olney’s production is directed by Alan Muraoka, proprietor of “Sesame Street”‘s Hooper’s Store since 1997.

“Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are America’s most talented, versatile musical theater team, and what they’ve done with this simple story is magic from start to finish,” says Olney Theatre Center Artistic Director Jason Loewith. “Add to that Alan Muraoka’s heartfelt direction, Helen Huang’s fantastical costumes and Milagros Ponce de León’s extraordinary set and you’ve got 90 minutes of world-class entertainment for audiences of every age.”

The cast of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND is led by Olney Theatre Center newcomer Aisha Jackson as Ti Moune. Ms. Jackson recently appeared in American Repertory Theater’s production of WITNESS UGANDA. Eymard Cabling, Lun Tha in last season’s hit production of THE KING AND I, returns as Ti Moune’s love interest Daniel. Sharing the role of young Ti Moune are Baltimore native Ariel Cunningham and Silver Spring native Shelby Renée Fountain. ONCE ON THIS ISLAND marks both girls’ debut at Olney Theatre Center. Playing the island gods are Theresa Cunningham as Asaka, Fahnlohnee Harris-Tate as Erzulie, Broadway veteran James T. Lane as Papa Ge, and Nicholas Ward as Agwe. Rounding out the cast are Kellee Knighten Hough, Wendell Jordan, David Little, Duyen Washington, and Stephen Scott Wormley.

Director Alan Muraoka partners with Music Director Darius Smith (Signature’s Dreamgirls, Adventure Theatre-MTC Three Little Birds) and Choreographer Darren Lee to bring Ahrens and Flaherty’s story to life on the Olney stage. Rounding out the design team are Scenic Designer Milagros Ponce De León, Costume Designer Helen Huang, Lighting Designer Marc Hurst, and Sound Designer Jeffrey Dorfman.

ONCE ON THIS ISLAND runs April 9 – May 4. Press Night: Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 7:00pm. Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 7:00pm; matinees on Sunday at 1:30pm; Saturday matinees at 1:30pm on April 19 and 26, and May 3; and, Wednesday matinees at 1:30pm on April 16, 23, and 30. Tickets are $32.50-$65. Discounts available for groups, seniors, military, and students.

ABOUT OLNEY THEATRE CENTER Olney Theatre Center is an award-winning, nonprofit, Equity theatre. Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Olney Theatre Center offers a diverse array of professional productions year-round. Olney Theatre Center is situated on 14 acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick “triangle,” within easy access of all three cities. Olney Theatre Center is home to the National Players, America’s longest-running touring company and led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Amy Marshall. For more information, visit www.olneytheatre.org. Follow Olney Theatre Center on Twitter @olneytheatre or twitter.com/olneytheatre and on Facebook at facebook.com/olneytheatre.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Harriet Harris, John Tartaglia, Christine Toy Johnson, Alan Muraoka, James Saito and More celebrate Ann Harada’s Debut at Lincoln Center in the American Songbook Series
Photos: Q & A with Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, The King in Harbor Lights’ Production of The King and I
Playing Lady Thiang in the Harbor Lights’ Production of The King and I is a dream come true for Christine Toy Johnson
Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Tamara Jenkins, Christine Toy Johnson and Ron Domingo Lead the Cast of Harbor Lights Theater Company’s Production of The King and I, directed by Alan Muraoka, November 2-18, 2012
Photos: AALDEF Honors Mari Matsuda, Aasif Mandvi, and John Chou in 2014 at 40th Anniversary Celebration
Apr. 23-27: Joel de la Fuente Stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at PlayMaker’s Repertory Company
Jun. 22 – July 27: Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Set for Old Globe Debut in OTHELLO
Apr. 17-May 18: Tonya Pinkins and Roscoe Orman Lead the Cast of New Federal Theatre’s Off-Broadway Production of The Fabulous Miss Marie
Signature’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, starring Cole Horibe, Phoebe Strole and Francis Jue, extends through April 6, 2014
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Celebrating the Year of the Horse with David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu at Signature Theatre; Previews begin February 4, 2014
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards
Q & A with Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play’s Garth Kravits
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre
Febone1960.net Review: Power Play Powerful & Suspenseful
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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