Local cast presents ‘Once On This Island’

Musical opens Oct. 12 at Boykin

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ACT! for Youth’s first production of the season takes on the one-act musical “Once On This Island” at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center beginning Oct. 12

Described as a cross between “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Little Mermaid,” the musical is based on the 1985 novel “My Love, My Love,” or as it’s also known, “The Peasant Girl,” by Rosa Guy.

Set in the French Antilles, the show revolves around an island peasant girl, Ti Moune, who rescues Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. Ti Moune uses the power of love to bring the island’s different social classes together.

“Just as any good story of any piece of theater, this show has an underlying conflict that drives it,” said Caleb Skinner, director. “That’s what makes it both entertaining and important.

“I feel the story is appropriate for all ages and that it is accessible and educative for anyone who sees it or who is touched by it any way. The central conflict of the show revolves around the idea of accepting people for who they are regardless of how different they might be from us,” he said.

“The characters are so creative and unique to this piece that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to miss it. It tells a story that is timeless and, while difficult, very true to the human experience. I think that it is totally appropriate for audiences young and old.”

Skinner also directed and served as musical director for this past July’s Summer Community Musical “South Pacific.”

The role of Ti Moune is played by Zy’Miracle Kearney, and Daniel’s role is played by Jack Stevens.

Skinner said he is proud of the young artists performing in this show.

“These kids are tackling an insanely challenging piece and totally blowing me away,” he said. “Our leads are very strong, but a piece like this requires a very strong ensemble. I am so excited to watch these kids continue to blossom in these roles.

“I think it should be mentioned that these kids’ talents come from many different places: their parents, voice teachers, school teachers, dance instructors, etc.,” Skinner continued. “Wilson has such an amazing wealth of artistic talent, and I hope to see this continue to be nurtured and develop more and more artistry in our community.”

During the first Broadway run of “Once On This Island,” the show earned eight Tony nominations, including Best Musical, Book and Score.

ACT! For Youth’s “Once On This Island” will run Oct. 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 14 at 3 p.m.; Oct. 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m.; and Oct. 21 at 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.wilsonarts.com/act-current-season/ and clicking the eTix link provided. Tickets can also be purchased through the Arts Council of Wilson by calling 252-291-4329 or visiting the box office located in the Edna Boykin Cultural Center on Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets will also be available at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.

Meet the characters

The Arts Council of Wilson will host a meet-and-greet with some of the characters from “Once On This Island” for kids in preschool through second grade on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Arts Council is hoping this event will help expose young children to the world of theater in an up-close and personal way. Photos will be taken with select cast and props in this fun, tropical-themed event.

Tickets are $5 per child and available at the door of the Edna Boykin Cultural Center, 108 Nash St., Wilson.

Parents can attend for free and are required to stay with their children throughout the event.