Award-winning musical Once on this Island welcomes the holiday season with symbolism, color and Caribbean folklore

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Six high school theater students lying down on the floor for promotional photo shoot for the play titled Once on this IslandMIAMI—New World School of the Arts music theater program welcomes the holidays with the Olivier-Award winning musical Once on this Island. Under the direction of Stuart Meltzer, this Caribbean-flavored one-act musical by Lynn Ahrens combines the magic of love stories and the art of storytelling to illustrate the ever-present socioeconomic realities of the Caribbean. Presented by NWSA high school seniors and juniors from the music theater program, this is “the first African-American focused high school production that we’ve done here in a while,” said Meltzer.

The six-day schedule begins on Friday, December 6 at 7:30 PM at the Louise O. Gerrits Theater – 25 NE 2nd Street, 8th Floor, downtown Miami. Additional performances will be on December 7, 13 and 14 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, December 8 and 15 at 2:00 PM. More information at 305-237-3541.

General admission is $15, students and seniors $10. Tickets can be purchased online at

This Tony-award nominated Broadway production, akin to a more somber “The Little Mermaid,” tells the story of Ti Moune (played by senior Ciara Harris), a peasant girl who rescues Daniel (played be junior Tal Kedem), a wealthy boy from the other side of her island, after a card accident. As Ti Moune saves his life and nurses Daniel back to health they fall in love and dream the impossibledream of a life together. When Daniel is returned to his people, the gods who rule the island lead Ti Moune on a quest that tests the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred and death.

With costumes and set design well on their way, the musical is already taking over much of the rehearsal time and space for NWSA high school music theater students. Meltzer, who not only directs the play but is also involved in its promotion, recently directed the publicity photo shoot. “The idea of the photo shoot was that we’re all submerged in water. We had blue cloth threaded between us,” explained Sean Stack, who plays Agwe, the god of water, in the musical.

In a recent interview with Channel 2’s uVu, this is what director Meltzer and three cast members shared about the upcoming production:

About the NWSA Theater program:

Theater and music theater students at NWSA hone their craft through acting technique, movement and speech classes, focusing on fundamentals of physical and emotional preparation. With performance at itscore, training is based on the classical texts and the principles of drama as well as practical incursions into the contemporary and experimental edges of theater. Consequently, alumni are found performing onstage nationally and internationally and their talent and vision are recognized and highly regarded in the industry.

New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts, and it is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.

For information about New World School of the Arts please call 305-237-3135.