Salt Lake Community College students can get a free ticket with their OneCard to the Grand Theatre’s production of the musical, “Once on This Island.” The show opens with a preview on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. It will continue from March 6-8, March 13-15 and March 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. with matinee showings at 2 p.m. on March 8, 15 and 22.
Described as a retelling of “The Little Mermaid” with “Romeo and Juliet” overtones and island flair, “Once on This Island” is about storytellers trying to alleviate a girl’s fears through the transformative tales that they tell during a stormy night.
“It’s raw magic for her,” says director Alexandra Harbold. “They’re all riding out the storm together.”
Some people may see the end as tragic or sad, but Harbold has a different take on it.
“It really focuses on our ability to transform,” says Harbold, “and to make changes that we didn’t think we were capable of.”
Harbold is excited to work with the music director Kevin Mathie and choreographer Michelle Patrick for this production, and she characterizes the piece as “muscular,” requiring a lot musically from the performers.
“I haven’t worked on a musical in a long time,” says Harbold. “This offers so many dimensions of [collaboration].”
Harbold says that “the play is not only about the story of what is written,” but it is also about what each of the actors and other participants bring to it that make up the totality of the story that students can experience only in the theater.
“It’s so much about experimentation and storytelling and how you create magic from raw material,” says Harbold.
“Once on This Island” features lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, and is adapted from Rosa Guy’s 1985 novel, “My Love, My Love: or The Peasant Girl.”