Once on This Island | Stage 773 | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Once on This Island The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through June 28 2009

Porchlight Music Theatre takes an In the Heights approach to this 1990 musical based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." Where Lynn Ahrens set her book in the Caribbean, here director Mark Lococo has the immigrant residents of a New York neighborhood recount the tale of TiMoune--a peasant girl who gives her heart and life for Daniel, a rich boy descended from French planters. The racial prejudices underpinning the story feel even more poignant when transplanted to America, which has its own unpleasant history in that department. Melanie Brezill's boundless energy as TiMoune lights up the stage (even when she has to strain for some higher notes), and Brenda Didier's exuberant Afro-Caribbean choreography captures a feeling of communal joy. Though rocky in places, this Island delivers with zest. --Kerry Reid

Price: $37


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