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“Once on this Island” comes to Kennedy

Andrea Deyto, Reporter

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“In the end the play really came together and the cast put their all into it,” said senior Rebecca Wesley. “I couldn’t have asked for a better last show.”

The play Once on this Island, written by Lynn Ahrens with music by Stephen Flaherty, was performed in John F. Kennedy High School on May 20-22.

Once on this Island tells a fairy tale of love being stronger than death. After caring for Daniel while he was sick, main character Ti Moune falls in love with him. She makes a deal Papa Ge, the demon of death, to exchange her life for Daniel’s. As the story progresses, Papa Ge shows up once more to remind Ti Moune of their deal, but informs Ti Moune that she can save herself if she kills Daniel. The love Ti Moune has for Daniel is too great, so she dies in his place, showing that love is truly stronger than death.

The students of John F. Kennedy worked extremely hard to perfect the difficult musical. For the past few years chorus teacher Ms. Zmoda taught actors the songs needed for the musical, but she was not able to help this year, so Wesley explained “it was definitely a lot harder.” The cast had to start learning the music themselves, but eventually a new vocal director was hired.

“I thought that maybe it wouldn’t pull together in the end [and] we wouldn’t learn the music in time, but everything pulled together and it went well,” said junior Inayah Avant. .

All of the students had to master their parts in order for the play to turn out well. Most parts were also double casted, so those actors performed in the ensemble in some performances and as lead roles in other performances. “It was definitely challenging being double casted because you had to learn all the ensemble dances/choreography and your [own] songs and dances,” said Wesley.  

The cast was accompanied by a live band in the pit which had musicians from the Kennedy band and outside bands. Throughout the play, the music helped tie together the acting and the set to make the experience for the audience as wholesome as possible.

Although the students put on a very good show, the audience turnout did not reflect their hard work.

“It’s kind of disheartening. I mean we put so much work and time, sweat and literally blood into this show and we didn’t have enough people to fill up even part of the auditorium. So it kind of makes you think, was any of it worth it?” said Avant.


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“Once on this Island” comes to Kennedy