Play Inc presents, ‘Once on this Island’

Sam Titus as Asaka (Goddess of the Earth) protects TiMoune on her journey. Caleb Merwin as Tonton Julian and Maddy Kohn as Mama Euralie tell Malory Williams the story of TiMoune. Andrea and Daniel (Hannah Haglund and Andrew Pauly) sing about the luxuries of the rich side of the island. Adalee Donahue as one of the Storytellers sings about how the animals and plants of the island sing to help guide TiMoune on her way. Hailey Clapp, Kate Larson, Jonah Brady, Amanda Hosch and Jordan Merwin as Storytellers making the island come alive with song and dance. Sam Titus as Asaka (Goddess of the Earth) leads the cast in the rousing number “Mama Will Provide.” The cast of “Once on this Island” rehearses a scene. The entire cast of “Once on this Island.”Photos by Rachel Kytonen
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Hailey Clapp, Kate Larson, Jonah Brady, Amanda Hosch and Jordan Merwin as Storytellers making the island come alive with song and dance.

For the past 12 years, Play Inc Community Theatre has brought two fun-filled musicals to the Cambridge area from Disney classics like

“Peter Pan,” and “Mulan” to modern Broadway musicals like “Les Miserables” and “Cats.”

This summer is no different. This past weekend the middle schoolers performed the enchanting, funny, imaginative show “Honk, Jr.” This upcoming weekend the high schoolers take the stage with their show, “Once on this Island.”

“Once on this Island” opens Friday, July 28 at 7 p.m. at the Richard G. Hardy Performing Arts Center at Cambridge-Isanti High School. It continues on July 29 at 7 p.m. and July 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or online at www.playinconline.org.

The title isn’t as well known as some of Play Inc’s most recent titles, but it is no less entertaining. “Once on this Island” is set in the Caribbean. The island where the action takes place is divided into two pretty strict class systems. During a hurricane, the peasants of the island try to calm a little girl by telling her the story of TiMoune who is sent on a journey by the gods of the island. A journey that tests the power of love against the power of death.

Based on a lot of the same ideas and storylines as Hans Christian Anderson’s story of “The Little Mermaid,” “Once on this Island” is a colorful, exciting tale that features a lot of imaginative storytelling and fun Caribbean style music. This show is another great family musical.

Director Aaron Knudsvig said, “This has been one the shows I have wanted to do for many years, and I’m so excited to bring it to the stage this summer.”

Play Inc produced a “junior” version of the musical in 2006 with the middle school program, but this is the first time the full show has been staged in Cambridge.

Knudsvig explains that, “The style of the show is very different than anything I’ve directed before or these kids have performed. It’s been a real learning process. The full cast is on stage almost the entire evening playing lots of different roles, from the peasants, to the upper-class, to frogs, birds, and trees as they create the various settings and environments throughout the evening. This cast has been absolutely up for anything I’ve thrown at them. They are determined to bring the world of this island to the audience in a very fun way.”

Cast List:
Little Girl/Little TiMoune:
Malory Williams
Mama Euralie: Madeline Kohn
Tonton Julian: Caleb Merwin
TiMoune: Annie Lind
Daniel Beauxhomme/
Beauxhomme: Andrew Pauly
Armand/ Gatekeeper: Jonah Brady
Daniel’s Father: Wyatt Miller
Andrea: Hannah Haglund
Papa Ge: Gabriel Maxwell
Asaka: Samantha Titus
Agwe: Abigail Shogren
Erzulie: Ruth Elkerton

Storytellers: Anders Baxter, Adalee Donahue, Maggie Grandgenett, Jenna Hiljus,Amanda Hosch, Olivia Lindberg, Anna Grace Nelson, Kara Olson, Hailey O’Connor, Olivia Sickler, Nicolle Ulrich.

Ensemble: Henry Baxter, Cecelia Bredeson, Chloe Carstensen, Hailey Clapp, Raeann Goetz, Emily Haglund, Gabby Holboy, Maddie Jaques, Jay Kampa, Nicholas Kase, Ailie Larkin, Kate Larson, Kiara Marohn, Katya McDonald, Jordan Merwin, Alixandra Petrk, Callahan Pokela, Isaac Volker, Sandra Yerges.