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“Once On This Island” debuts at BHS


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This years spring musical Once On This Island premiered on March 10th.

The show takes place on the Island of Haiti and is about a girl named Ti Moune, a poor peasant girl, who is saved by the gods for a purpose. It follows her as she goes on a journey to find her purpose and she learns how the power of love is stronger than anything, even death.

The directors found it crucial to have an extra hand with the choreography, especially the show’s choreographer, co-director, and BHS history teacher, Ms. Pietroluongo. The choice seemed obvious on who would take the position as dance captain. Junior Maria Boye with 14 years of dance experience behind her who knows the show’s choreography inside and out, seemed to fit the description. “This is a very dance heavy show with difficult choreography, so my job was to bridge the gap between first learning the dances and making sure it looked perfect,” she said.

Another new thing this year behind the process of the show is the new student co-director. Former Broadway star and junior at Bernards High School, Jack Broderick, finds himself on the other side of the table. Sitting next to the other directors, Chris Tomano, Brittany Goodwin, and Ms. Pietroluongo, Jack observed the run throughs, made costumes and props, as well as worked with the actors on their performances. Jack said, “We love when everyone gives 100%, and then the show really is fantastic!,” when asked about what the directors love most about the show.

Every year new actors join the theatre from the middle school. This year especially there seems to be a great deal of excitement from the new comers. “The first thing I noticed about the theater program here was how friendly everybody in the cast and crew is,” said freshman Daisy Byers, “I have learned so much and this show has been an incredible experience for me. I will definitely continue being a part of the theatre community, it feels like home!”

The role of Ti Moune is played by junior Clarissa Po. Ti Moune, the ingenue, is a representation of change and symbolizes innocent love. “My character is really interesting to portray, not only is it my first lead role at BHS, but what makes it even more special is that it’s in a show that has such a great meaning,” said Po. “I hope that it teaches the audience to be more accepting because we’re all people and we should all try and love one another.”

All throughout tech week, the leads of the show spoke on the announcements as their characters. People from the cast you rarely hear from are the ensemble, the people without speaking parts and names, some might say “the background people”. This years ensemble however is much larger than in years past and have a bigger role than just being in the background. The cast is on stage for a majority of this years show and play a big part in the intention of the story.

As the show closed on Sunday, senior Will Shelton said, “It’s bittersweet, but it’s a great end to my favorite part of high school, and I’m glad it’s with the people in this cast.” When a class graduates from the theatre program they always leave a little piece of themselves amongst the memories of their younger peers. “I want my legacy to be that I gave people the tools to help one another grow and succeed in this environment. That they are enough to go out on a stage and perform their best, and feel good about themselves.”

Overall the show got great comments and reviews from spectators and students. The first show on Friday received one of the biggest opening nights in BHS theatre history. Many people in and outside of Bernardsville enjoyed the show coming from all over New Jersey. The cast was very appreciative to see people coming out to see the show and all of the hard work put into it.

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“Once On This Island” debuts at BHS