REVIEW: Light-footed charmer ‘Once on This Island’ opens breezily at Olney Theatre Center
WASHINGTON POST • APRIL 14, 2014 • BY NELSON PRESSLEY
“Once on This Island” at the Olney Theatre Center is a burst of spring, a warm 90-minute fairy tale told to breezy Caribbean rhythms. This is the 1990 musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and while they would go on to write bigger shows such as “Ragtime” and Broadway’s current “Rocky,” “Island” remains a light-footed charmer.
The story comes from Rosa Guy’s book “My Love, My Love,” and it starts in a storm shelter as a small girl cries in fright. The thing to do is comfort her with a story, of course, which blooms onstage with song and dance.
Theatre Review: ‘Once On This Island’ at Olney Theatre Center
MD THEATRE GUIDE • APRIL 14, 2014 • BY STEVE CHARING
A booming storm yet again rocks this vulnerable Caribbean island, which happens to be Haiti, “The Jewel of the Antilles.” And in a matter of 90 minutes—the length of a typical wind-swept, drenching and damaging tempest —theatre patrons attending the musical Once On This Island playing at the Olney Theatre Center will be told how a peasant girl can pull strangers on the island together through the power of love. This is accomplished largely through storytelling, an intrinsic part of the peasant culture on Haiti, which serves to entertain as well as to instill values in children.
ARTICLE: From a blown interview, Muraoka gets directing job for Once on This Island
DC THEATRE SCENE • APRIL 14, 2014 • BY KEITH LORIA
Some phone calls you never forget.
For Alan Muraoka, it was a call he took this winter from Olney Theatre’s artistic director Jason Loewith, who was interviewing him for the chance to direct Once on This Island, which has long-been a favorite musical of Muraoka’s. When he hung up the phone after the interview, one thought crossed his mind: “I blew it!”
“When I hung up from Jason, it felt like a really bad first date,” Muraoka says. “I really wanted this job and I wasn’t satisfied with the idea of doing the show as-is—I wanted to make it speak to a 2014 audience—but I failed to get that concept through. I knew I needed to do something to set myself apart and make sure I secured the job.”
Olney Theatre Center is a proud partner of Barrie School.
Olney Theatre Center is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. All programs are made possible by support from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County; the Maryland State Department of Education; and the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.