Once on This Island Brings the Caribbean to the NWSA Stage

8 student actors standing in the water

Under the direction of NWSA theatre faculty Jennifer de Castroverde, the college musical theatre students present the mainstage production Once on This Island, a musical story of love, grief, faith and hope. Once on This Island tells of peasant girl Ti Moune, a boy called Daniel, and a union that prejudice forbids.
“The journey into this musical has been a deeply spiritual, collaborative one for me and the cast of student actors from the college and the high school here at New World School of the Arts. On this Island, there is a deep division of race, color, and class,” explained de Castroverde. “By challenging individualized points of view, the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a different race, color, and class, becomes an opportunity for resolution, forgiveness, and love.”
Once on This Island is a musical based on the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy. With book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music is by Stephen Flaherty, the musical tells the story about a young black peasant girl named Ti Moune who falls in love with a young aristocrat of mixed race on the island of Haiti. The show was originally produced in 1990 at Playwrights Horizons in NYC. and later transferred to Broadway’s Booth Theatre, running 469 performances, and earning many Tony nominations.

“In working with this Brechtian, Greek Chorus technique, the musical shows the power of theater.”

Jennifer de Castroverde

“All actors transform into their characters on stage through the archetype of Storyteller,” noted the director. “Therefore, there is no division in their unified retelling of this story to a Little Girl (which is representative of the audience). In the archetype of the Storyteller, the musical allows the microcosm of an island society to reflect upon itself as a collective, as opposed to individualistic.”
When asked how this production supports the theater classroom experience, college sophomore musical theatre student Rayhana Parris (in the role of Papa Ge) explained, “I can implement my discoveries into my acting and musical theatre classes. The steps I took to make those discoveries now give me the same process for approaching a new character under totally different circumstances. As an artist-in-training, Once on This Island allows me to be more collaborative with my director and cast mates. The excitement of this musical helps me bring the natural acting choices into the room and dive deep into my own character.”
The New World School of the Arts theater program is dedicated to the professional training of talented and committed students interested in pursuing performing careers on stage, screen, and in other media, offering students an opportunity to work in a hands-on intensive, physically demanding, artistically challenging and exciting environment. Guided by faculty who are professional actors, directors, playwrights and designers, the curriculum is a progressive journey toward the ownership of a personal technique and a comprehensive methodology of working. The faculty guides the student through the discovery and exploration of self, the learning of diverse techniques used in our craft, intensive rehearsal process, and finally the application of this knowledge into dramatic forms and styles in productions. The NWSA College BFA theatre program culminates with in-person senior showcases in Miami and New York City, as well as a virtual showcase for regional markets. Information about the NWSA Theater program is available by calling 305-237-3260.
A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, New World School of the Arts is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, and University of Florida. NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative, and academic development through a curriculum that reflects our community and the rich multicultural state of Florida. Through our partners NWSA confers the high school diploma, Associate of Arts degree, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees in programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater and Art & Design. NWSA’s rigorous eight-year curriculum and conservatory-style teaching has empowered students in our community and our nation to become leaders in the arts for more three decades.

Information about New World School of the Arts at 305-237-3135 or nwsa.mdc.edu.


December 1; 7:30 PM
December 2; 7:30 PM
December 3; 2:00 PM
December 8; 7:30 PM
December 9; 7:30 PM
December 10; 2:00 PM

Louise O. Gerrits Theater
25 NE 2nd Street, 8th Floor, Miami

General admission $15 / Students and seniors $10