Lea Salonga Joins Broadway Revival of 'Once on This Island'

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Lea Salonga

Merle Dandridge, Quentin Earl Darrington and Alex Newell will also play island gods in the new staging of the beloved musical.

Lea Salonga is among those who are joining the Broadway revival of Once on This Island.

The Tony winner will play Erzulie, Goddess of Love, in the new staging of the musical, alongside Merle Dandridge, Quentin Earl Darrington and Alex Newell. Dandridge will play Papa Ge, Demon of Death; Darrington will play Agwe, God of Water; Newell will play Asaka, Mother of the Earth.

Based on Rosa Guy's novel My Love, My Love, the popular 1990 musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (the vehicle that first launched Tony winner LaChanze) centers on Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island and, with the help of the island gods, embarks on a quest to reunite with him.

A Tony nominee for Spring Awakening, Michael Arden directs the revival, choreographed to the Caribbean tunes by Camille A. Brown and set to star a newcomer to be discovered through an international casting call. Previews begin Nov. 9 ahead of a Dec. 3 opening at the Circle in the Square Theatre.

“In casting the Gods that inhabit our island, it became imperative for me to break expectations and stretch beyond the bounds in which Gods are traditionally represented," said Arden in a statement. "It felt important that young people watching our production see themselves reflected back from the stage at them. The Gods are simply that: Gods. They are not bound by gender, race, sexuality or being human at all. I'm so very pleased to be collaborating with these four artists exploring the important and timely themes of this musical through their unique and incredible abilities."

Once On This Island first premiered at Playwrights Horizons in May of 1990, and opened on Broadway in October of that year. It ran for 469 performances and earned eight Tony nominations.

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