East Troy High School’s Hailey Donohoue (front) rehearses a scene from the fall musical, “Once on this Island” with Zoe Dignan (back from left), Rorye Cieslik, Max Bartlett and Ashlyn Dent. The musical will be presented at the high school, 3128 Graydon Ave., Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Fall musical promises non-stop entertainment

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

The East Troy High School Drama Club has been having a lot of fun preparing for its fall musical, “Once on this Island.” The annual production returns this weekend and the kids can’t wait to entertain their audience.

“It’s my favorite show we’ve done so far,” senior Zoe Dignan said. “It’s a simple story, but it’s a really big story.”

“There’s a lot of emotion in an hour and a half,” senior Hailey Donohoue added.

While not wanting to give away the plot, the Drama Club members said they were excited to bring this particular musical to East Troy.

“We’ve had so much fun with this,” senior Rorye Cieslik said.

The musical is based on the novel “My Love, My Love,” by Rosa Guy and is being presented with permission by Music Theater International. The music for the play is by Stephen Flahery with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.

According to a press release from the Drama Club, “Once on this Island” is a captivating legend of romance between a peasant girl and a rich city boy whom she saves from death in the French Antillies. This calypso-flavored fable of love and death and temperamental gods opens on a Caribbean island where villagers comfort a little girl with the story of the orphan Ti Moune, destined to love too much for the human heart to bear.

“There’s a lot of upbeat tropical music, a very ‘island’ vibe,” Cieslik said.

“It’s a much shorter musical than we usually do,” Dignan added. “But it’s very impactful.”

And there’s a lot of dancing.

“So much dancing,” senior Kellan Woods said. “We had to learn a lot of dancing.”

“We spent one three-hour practice just learning a one-minute dance,” senior Hailey Donohoue recalled.

“But it was the best fun we had!” senior Ashlyn Dent said. “It went by so fast.”

With the music non-stop throughout the production, the Drama Club members said the fast-pace of the musical will keep the audience entertained from beginning to end.

“We do so much singing and dancing to tell the story, there’s only about 30 lines in the whole play,” Dignan said. “It’s a crazy good show and I think the younger kids will really understand this. The story, or lesson, is right there for them and we have a ‘kid’ in the show, so they will be able to relate to that. I think kids like to see kids in plays.”

While the lecture hall at the high school won’t allow the club to present the play “in the round” like it was written for, the set up of the seats for the musical will circle the front and sides of the stage to bring the audience straight into the drama.

“We can’t do it full, but we’re doing it the best we can it’s so cool,” Donohoue said.

The seniors said they felt the whole cast and crew had grown closer while rehearsing over the last six weeks and will cherish the memories they are making.

The cast members include: Hailey Donohoue as Ti Moune; Robert Thomas as Daniel Beauxhomme; Ashlyn Dent as Papa Ge. Demon of Death; Rorye Cieslik as Asaka, Mother of the Earth; Max Bartlett as Agwe, God of Water; Zoe Dignan as Erzulie, Goddess of Love; Morgan Madish as Mama Euralie; Josh Gruber as Tonton Julian; Grace Bird as Andrea; Kellen Woods as Armand; and Bailey Desing as Little Ti Moune.

The chorus includes: Taylor Aldred, Nicholas Cleveland, Emily Cox, Delaney Dopke, Christiann Edwards, Hailey Grigg, Claire Marcinkevic and Vivian Reitz.

Crewmembers are stage manager Emma Theys, assistant stage manager Zach Preiser, Luke Peterson on lights, and Ben Boettcher, Alec Marcinkevic, Jenna Raymond, Amelia Swenarski and Aurelia Evrard.

Linda Brown is the guest choreographer.

Pit orchestra members are: Lillian Geuder, flute/piccolo; Cody Miller, saxophones

Hannah Starr, bass; Sophie Marsh, percussion; Xabier Bisabarros-Hudoc, percussion. Adult musicians are: Steven Joyal, piano, and Wyatt Miller, guitar.

Deb Williamson is directing. Phil Williamson is the technical director. Riley Roberson is the orchestra director. Aimee Swanson is the vocal director.


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