Worlds clash in ‘Once on This Island’

Office of Education Theater Company performs Broadway adaptation of Little Mermaid fairy tale April 11-13


TULARE COUNTY – This month, Tulare County theatergoers have the opportunity to visit the Caribbean through a touching story of love and loss as told in the musical “Once on This Island JR.” The production is an original adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s popular fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. 

Through almost nonstop song and dance, this full-hearted 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 (played by Ali Pullom, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center) is returned to his people, the fantastical gods who rule the island guide Ti Moune (played by Allison Hart, Redwood High School)on a quest that will test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred, and even death. 

In the opening number, the peasants describe their world – a world that is ruled by powerful gods and an island ruled by the wealthy “grand hommes.” They explain that the peasants and the grand hommes belong to “two different worlds, never meant to meet.”

Last year, Once on This Island enjoyed a revival on Broadway, winning eight Tony awards. The musical was created by the legendary Broadway writing team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. 

Other cast members include:  Mama Euralie – Morgan LaLanne, El Diamante High School; Ton Ton – Job Whetstone, Mt. Whitney High School; Little Ti Moune – Elle Pinheiro, St. Aloysius School; Asaka – Allison Martin, El Diamante High School; Agwe – Parker Chalabian, Redwood High School; Erzulie – Emilie Walker, Redwood High School; Pape Ge – John Piper, El Diamante High School; and Andrea – Jessica Peters, Redwood High School.

The play will be shown at 7 p.m. on April 11, 12, and 13 with a matinee at 2 p.m. on April 13. All showtimes will be at the Rotary Theater, 330 S. Dollner St. in Visalia. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the Tulare County Office of Education’s offices at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. and 7000 Doe Ave. in Visalia, during normal business hours Monday through Friday. Cash or check only. Tickets can also be purchased at the door or by calling 559-651-1482, ext. 3329.


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