Review: Holly “Tells the Story” with Once on this Island Jr.

Those who keep up with Broadway and the Tony Awards know Once on this Islandwent back to the Circle on the Square Theater with the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. While the tickets for the Broadway production are quickly selling out, it’s possible to get a taste of the show right here in North Georgia as the Historic Holly Theatre presents Once on this Island Jr. as one of their two summer camp offerings for young actors. The show opens tomorrow and runs this and next weekend.

Once on this Island is a creative adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid but with a Caribbean flavor written by the Tony award-winning team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The show began off-Broadway in May 1990, and opened on Broadway in October 1990. It had a European premiere in 1994 and was revived in the UK in 2009. The most recent Tony Award-winning revival opened in November 2017.  Children’s drama troupes worldwide have been performing this Jr. version of the musical produced by Musical Theater International’s Broadway Junior Series for many years.

This the story of TiMoune, a young peasant girl rescued from a storm by an older, childless couple. The peasants are loyal to their gods, Asaka–mother of the earth, Erzulie–godess of love, Agwe–master of the sea, and Papa Ge–sly demon of death. The other side of the island is inhabited by the wealthy Beauxhommes, who look down on the peasants. TiMoune finds herself pining for Daniel Beauxhomme in his fancy car, and comes to his rescue when the gods intervene and Daniel is injured in his car by a storm. She nurses him to health and follows him when he returns to his home. It’s then that she’s led by the gods on a quest that tests the strength of her love against prejudice, intolerance and death.

The Holly Senior Performance Camp conists of children ages 12-18 who began rehearsals last Monday, and rehearsed from 8 AM to 4 PM each day to produce a show that is aesthetically beautiful and very well performed. To learn music, choreography, blocking, and acting is a challenge in such a short period of time, and these youngsters rose to the challenge.

Director Brooke Evans and her team, music director, Tee Smith, Choreographer Keelie Hogan, Costumer Dakota Whitlock, and lighting designer Luke Derusha have assembled a show that is beautiful in design, and enjoyable in acting, dance, and song.

Key-noteworthy performances go to Sam Bradford (Tonton Julian) and Dex Frier (Mama Euralie), Adrian Ramsey (Asaka), Nealy Webster (Little TiMoune), Dani Bodney (TiMoune) and Emily Bouchez (Andrea). The ensemble also deserves an honorable mention for their energy and vocals in “We Tell the Story”.

Once on this Island Jr. opens Saurday June 16, 2018 at 7:00 PM with additional shows Sunday June 17 at 2:00 PM, Friday and Saturday, June 22 & 23 at 7:00 PM and Sunday, June 24 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased in advance at  or at the box office: 69 West Main St. Dahlonega, GA.

You have a chance to win 2 tickets to this show and also 2 tickets to The Magic Treehouse: Pirates Past Noon  by entering the Speakeysie Holly Theatre Ticket Giveaway Event on our Facebook site. The drawing will be tomorrow, Saturday night at 6:00 PM outside the doors of the Historic Holly!! Hurry and enter today.  

–Jody Key — Managing Editor — — 470-330-1499

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