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Tiger Den Players close season with Once On This Island
on this island pic 1
The cast of On This Island perform “Mama Will Provide” during the April 18 dress rehearsal. - photo by Jessica Taylor

The senior Tiger Den Players finished out their high school acting careers on a high note as they performed their spring musical April 19-21.

The Performing Arts Center was transformed into a tropical island as the school’s drama program treated audiences to Once On This Island, a charming one act musical featuring Caribbean rhythms and ensemble storytelling.

Once On This Island, a 1990 Broadway musical, tells the story of a young girl named Ti Moune, played by senior Alexis Bagley, who journeys across her island to find her love Daniel, played by senior Collin McGinnis. With the help of mischievous gods, Ti Moune uses the power of love to bridge together people of different social classes on the island.

The minimalist set consisted of wooden pallets and palm fronds with lights serving as clouds in the background.

“We just got moving lights so we’re really excited to use those,” said Director Mallory Nonnemaker.

And the moving lights played an integral part of the performance as they were used to simulate storms, sunsets, island paradise and give the dastardly Demon of Death, Papa Ge, a proper villain entrance.

In less than two hours, the cast packed 20 songs and multiple dance numbers choreographed by Emily Topper into a stellar performance.

“I love the ensemble work in the show. Really the ensemble is more important than the lead characters in the show because they’re the ones actually telling the story through the songs and dialogue and the narration,” said senior Bronwynne Hill, who played Asaka, Mother of the Earth. “I like being part of that and seeing everyone come together and grow through it.”

The show was special for Hill, who has dreamed of playing Asaka since she was nine years old after seeing Once On This Island performed at a theater festival she attended.

“I’ve always loved ‘Mama Will Provide’ which is the song I sing which is awesome. I’ve been wanting to do this show ever since I was about nine years old. I always knew that if I did it I would end up being Asaka,” said Hill. “It’s really cool to be able to play one of my dream roles as my last show in high school.”

For junior Kat Mulberry who played Daniel’s fiancée Andrea, the show had a different significance for her as it helped her overcome many challenges and hardships she’s faced during the school year.

“When I found out we were doing show I actually would listen to the soundtrack and it helped me get through whatever I was going through,” said Mulberry. “I think music speaks to people in a way that words can’t because music has always done something to me that I never expected.”

The show’s finale, “Why We Tell This Story,” really resonated with Mulberry.

“It’s just an amazing song and Little Ti Moune (played by Maddie Castleberry) – this is her first show and she’s doing so well and she just, she makes me happy when she gets her stuff right and it makes me ten times happier when I get my stuff right because knowing that she’s so amazing and sweet and cute,” said Mulberry.

The curtain closed on the Tiger Den Players 2017-18 season April 21 after four successful shows of Once On This Island. And while the seniors prepare for their upcoming graduation, the underclassmen will continue to carry the torch and prepare for next year’s productions.