‘Once on This Island’ Revival Sets Broadway Dates

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The composing team Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens.

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Walter McBride/Getty Images

The rousing musical “Once on This Island,” which uses the style of a Caribbean folk tale about love to explore class tensions, will be revived on Broadway this fall.

The producers Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold said Monday that they would commence an international search, beginning in Haiti, to cast Ti Moune, the peasant girl whose love for a wealthier boy is at the heart of the story. The musical is set in the French Antilles, and is based on the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy.

The show features music by Stephen Flaherty and a book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, a composing team that won a Tony Award in 1998 for the score of “Ragtime,” and that is represented this season on Broadway with “Anastasia,” now in previews.

“Once on This Island” was first produced in 1990 at Playwrights Horizons, an Off Broadway nonprofit, when Frank Rich, then a theater critic for The New York Times, wrote, “the audience feels the otherworldly thrill of discovering the fabric of its own lives in an enchanted tapestry from a distant shore.” The production transferred that year to Broadway, directed by Graciela Daniele and starring LaChanze, and ran for 19 previews and 469 regular performances.

The revival is to be directed by Michael Arden, who directed last season’s revival of “Spring Awakening.” The producers said the revival would begin previews on Nov. 9 and open Dec. 3; they did not announce the name of a theater.

The original production explored tensions over race as well as class — the peasants were darker skinned than the more affluent islanders; asked whether that will also be an element of the revival, a spokeswoman said, “we’ll know more as casting takes place and the production develops.”

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