IN REHEARSAL: First Look at The Forum Theatre’s Once On This Island

Rehearsals for Once On This Island, featuring an all-Black cast, are in full swing at the Forum Theatre! Here’s a glimpse into the rehearsal process and why this cast is so excited to tell this story. 

With eight Tony nominations including for Best Musical and Best Original Score, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’ musical adaptation of The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy is a love story for all people. The story has been described as a tropical retelling of “The Little Mermaid,” with delectable Caribbean rhythms and a message running throughout that love conquers all prejudices. 

We took a few moments to chat with members of the cast about the significance of telling this timeless story. 

“Ti Moune has always been a dream character of mine,” said Maya Mays, an Indianapolis native making her Forum Theatre debut. Her journey is one of “selfless love, and that is what drives this entire show – honestly, her entire life.”

When asked how they would describe the essential message of the show, almost every single cast member said, “love.” “[This story] touches me, because [it] can be so personable and relevant in your life,” said Adrienne Degraftenreed. “It’s probably nothing… people have not gone through.” 

Set in the French Antilles, Once On This Island also touches on themes of prejudice, all the while carrying with it a message of hope and of love conquering those ugly ways of thinking. The choreography by Gigi Gans Russell and music directed by Anjelica McRae-Breathett span a wide range of African, Caribbean, and tribal inspirations. The cast will take audiences on a visual and musical journey back to their ancestral roots as they tell a story each person will be able to connect to, no matter their background. 

“I’m most excited for people to get to see more of our heritage and where we come from and what the ancestors have taught us,” said Injoy Fountain. “It’s definitely about race, and colorism, and struggle, and the journey of all that – but the thing that sticks out the most is love and acceptance.”

Tickets are on sale now for The Forum Theatre’s Once On This Island, running April 20-May 7. Visit this link for more information:

Maya Mays, Indianapolis native, plays Ti Moune.
The cast circles around Londynn Profit in a vibrant opening number.
The gods (Adrienne Degraftenreed, Alexander Ogburn, Injoy Fountain, Anjelica McRae-Breathett) observe the goings-on.
Ti Moune (Maya Mays) saves her love, wealthy boy Daniel (Jaden Kindle).
The cast engage in a fight sequence as they tell the history of the island.
Ti Moune (Maya Mays) stands her ground with her parents (Sheila. Kinnard and Robert Barnes).
The villagers are unhappy with Beauxhomme (Jaden Kindle).
The gods save young Ti Moune (Londynn Profit) from a storm.
Mama Eulalie (Sheila Kinnard) and Tonton Julian (Robert Barnes) worry about Ti Moune.