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News : Entertainment : Drama Aug 2, 2010 - 12:19 PM

A Caribbean fairy tale provides great fun for families!

By Curtain Call

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Pictured at a recent rehearsal for Once On This Island are Sean Ormond as Daniel and Talia Robinson as TiMoune.
Once on this island on a stormy night, as legend tells it, a small girl cries in fear as the thunder booms. To comfort her a group of Caribbean peasants tell her the story of Ti Moune, a beautiful peasant girl who rescues and falls in love with Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. When Daniel is returned to his people, the fantastical gods who rule the island guide Ti Moune on a quest to test the strength of her love. Thus is the story of Once On This Island, Curtain Call's 20th annual Summer Youth Theatre presentation.

This highly original and theatrical Caribbean adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid features a Calypso-flavored score by the creators of Seussical and Ragtime. It's an enchanting tale for all ages. Once On This Island, with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, is based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy, and also includes elements of the Romeo and Juliet story. This production is directed and choreographed by George Croom and features music direction by Brian Frazier.

For twenty years Curtain Call has been offering this unique summer program free of charge to participants. "Our Summer Youth Theater program allows students age 10 - 21 to learn by doing...not only on stage ...but in all areas of the production, said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call executive director, Support from GenRe and UBS help underwrite the costs associated with providing nearly 100 hours of program time per student. Additional support comes from The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism as well as from State Farm Insurance Agent, Maria Ordonez. All Curtain Call programs are in presented in cooperation with The City of Stamford.

"Every summer our Sterling Farms home bursts with energy as nearly 100 area youth gather to put on an amazing production," Ursone said, himself a product of summer youth theatre productions. "Whether or not these talented young performers have long-term aspirations of performing or not, they give it their all and put on a beautiful production," he added. Many Curtain Call summer youth performers have indeed continued in professional arts careers - Dan Micciche for one will be rejoining the Broadway cast of Chicago soon as Mary Sunshine, a role he has played on and off for almost three years. "Another great example of a former participant is our costumer, Megan Latte Ormond, who besides designing Once On This Island, will be our resident designer for the entire upcoming season. Education director, Brian Bianco, is another shining example - he was a founding member of Curtain Call's Summer Youth Theatre program.

Principal players include: Demerre Files, Brendan George, Olivia Lapine, Laine Levitt, Alia Munsch, Sean Ormond, Talia Robinson, Edwin Rosales, John Schule, Rachel Schulte and Lea Torelli. The other members of the cast include: Matt Arditti, Raj Basak, Katherine Breen, Taylor Byerly, Anson Cohen, Madison Coppola, Jordan Costa, Jainee DiDonato, Brittany Duffin, Max Hanau, Monica Harrington, Aidan Hart, Janine Jay, Rachel Kadlick, Carol Malak, Savannah Belle Miller, Camilla Montoya, Riley O’Neill, Hailey Pedicano, Todd Piskin, Laura Quinn, Jeffrey Rich, Cameron Riolo, Chris Simeone, Matthew Sperrazza, Sam Strizver, Matt Sweeney, Zoe Usowski, Sam Wise, Kate Wiznitzer and Matt Woodside

A long-standing tradition which brings the Mayor of Stamford to stage in a cameo role will be continued when Mayor Michael Pavia joins the cast of Once On This Island on Friday, August 13. "Going back to my days in youth theatre, many, many Stamford mayors have appeared alongside our area's fine young artists," Ursone said. For all 20 years that Curtain Call has been presenting its Summer Youth Theatre program, Stamford Mayors have participated.

Once On This Island was originally staged at Playwrights Horizons where it opened a limited engagement, running from May 6 to May 27, 1990. The musical was so well received by the critics and public alike that it moved to Broadway, opening on October 18, 1990 at the Booth Theatre. The transfer met with the same success on Broadway, charming everyone with it breezy, Caribbean warmth. Once On This Island was nominated for eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. It closed, after 469 performances, on December 1, 1991. The subsequent British production won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

Once On This Island will play in the air-conditioned Kweskin Theatre from August 5 through 14, evenings at 7:30pm with Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:00pm - August 8 and 14. There are no performances August 9 and 10, Call the Box Office for tickets at 203-461-6358, or go online to Prices for all performances are $26 for adults, $18 for senior citizens and $13 for students and children. Group rates are also available upon request.

Curtain Call is the non-profit community-based theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford. Year-round productions and workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre. It has been voted Fairfield County’s BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 in the Annual Readers’ Poll of The Fairfield County Weekly and BEST PERFORMING ARTS GROUP by Stamford Plus magazine for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

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