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Dos Pueblos Musical Theater Class to Present ‘Once On This Island’

The production, May 5 and 7, with feature the choreography of student Janina Mason

Dos Pueblos High School’s musical theater class will present Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’ Once On This Island at 7 p.m. May 5 and May 7 in the Studio Theater.

Dos Pueblos High School musical theater students Janina Mason and Jeremy Zaida rehearse a scene in the upcoming Once On This Island.
Dos Pueblos High School musical theater students Janina Mason and Jeremy Zaida rehearse a scene in the upcoming Once On This Island. (Joet Vitalari photo)

Tickets are $8 for students and $10 for adults, and can be purchased at the door. The show features choreography by Janina Mason, musical direction by John Douglas and direction by Clark Sayre.

The show opens on a village of poor peasants who gather around a fire to comfort a small girl, Little Tiumoune (Katelyn Dorny), who is frightened by a terrible storm. They tell her the story of Ti Moune (Shari Howard), a girl “saved by the gods for something special.” Their story chronicles Ti Moune growing into a young peasant woman and falling in love with the wealthy Daniel Beauxhomme, a love arranged by the “powerful, temperamental” gods, but a love forbidden on the island.

Sayre and Mason worked together on the show at Dos Pueblos in 2003 under very different circumstances. Mason, who was then 7 years old, played the role of Little Timoune.

“It’s probably my favorite show ever, so it was wonderful to do it again and reshape with some of my own stuff,” she said.

Some choreography is based on Krista Monson’s work in the 2003 production.

Explaining his decision to use a student as choreographer, Sayre said, “She was the natural choice because of her knowledge of the show, her love of the material and her recent successes choreographing dance numbers for past class shows.”

Once On This Island was Sayre’s third show at Dos Pueblos.

“At that time, all of our main stage shows had to be performed in the small 135-seat theater (comparable to an off-Broadway house), as opposed to where the main stage shows are performed today in the 750 seat Elings Performing Arts Center, which can allow more elaborate and expensive Broadway-style sets and costumes,” he said.

Although the class does not require an audition to get in, students in the class did have to audition for their specific roles: Jeremy Zaida as Papa Ge, Cole Peterson as Agwe, Libby Baker as Erzulie, Janina Mason as Asaka, Graham Ashby as Daniel, Courtney Cambron as Andrea, Heather Burns as Mama and Thomas Carlisle as Ton Ton.

— Clark Sayre is the theater teacher/director at Dos Pueblos High School.

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