Gallery presents ‘Once On This Island’

Published 11:06 am Wednesday, February 16, 2011

AHOSKIE – If cold winter weather is getting you down, escape to the islands at the Gallery Theatre on February 26-27 and March 5-6 when “Once On This Island” brings ‘warmth and sunshine’ to Ahoskie.

And to really warm your heart, enjoy a special free preview performance at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 25 when an optional contribution to the Hertford County Habitat for Humanity will ensure their project to build permanent homes for families will continue.  In addition, all proceeds from concessions at all other performances of “Once On This Island” will be donated to this worthy cause.  Doors open at 7 p.m. for light refreshments and viewing of images of Haiti from celebrated author and photographer Marvin T. Jones from the Chowan Discovery Group.

“We are excited about this ‘calypso-flavored’ musical set on a Caribbean island,” states Ralph Hewitt, executive director.  “We are opening final dress rehearsal to the public with all donations going to the Hertford County Habitat for Humanity in an effort to support their projects here and to support the national Habitat for Humanity’s campaign to build a permanent homes in Haiti one year after the devastating earthquake.

“We encourage everyone to come out and support the Gallery Theatre while donating to this important local organization and for the people of Haiti,” concluded Hewitt.

“Once On This Island”, written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and based on the book “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy, is a musical set on a Caribbean island in the Antilles, which is the home to two entirely different societies: the poor peasants and the aristocratic Grand Hommes. It is a captivating legend of romance between a peasant girl and a rich city boy whom she saves from death.

If you liked the Disney movie The Little Mermaid, you will surely like this calypso-flavored re-telling of that story which takes place on a Caribbean island. Villagers comfort a little girl with the story of the orphan Ti Moune, destined to love too much for the human heart to bear. “Once On This Island” delivers melody, love and joy in tropical abundance and the Gallery Theatre delivers it to you for two weekends.

Jill Gadsden, associate executive director for the Gallery Theatre, directs this hit Broadway musical with music director Bobby Hoggard of Grande Illusions Entertainment Group.  The cast of characters features regional talents:  TI MOUNE – Meghan Powell; DANIEL – Tommy Hurdle; ANDREA – Hayley Rivera;  LITTLE TI MOUNE – Dashia Faison; ASAKA – Veronica Watford; AGWE – Alonzo Coley; ERZULIE – Jill Gadsden; PAPA GE – Germaine Jordan; MAMA-Rocquina Vaughan; TONTON – Curtis Mitchell; ARMAND – Boyd Merriman; DANIEL’S SON – Carson Jager; LITTLE GIRL – Autumn Olsen; GATEKEEPER – B.J. Whittington; and STORYTELLER-Thelma Lang.

For more information about the Gallery Theatre’s open final dress rehearsal, call Ralph Hewitt at 252-332-2976 or visit for more information about “Once On This Island” and to sign-up for their email newsletter.