Tony Award winner Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon) will return to the Broadway revival of Once on This Island for the show’s final week of performances. Salonga, who originated the role of the goddess Erzulie, will rejoin the production on December 27, 2018 and stay until the show takes its final bow on January 6, 2019. Salonga will replace Cassondra James who, in turn, has just replaced Michelle Williams in the role. Williams has departed the production due to medical reasons.
Lea Salonga made her Broadway debut in the original production of Miss Saigon, winning a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical playing the character of Kim. Previously, Salonga had played the role in the original West End production of the show at the age of 18. Hailing from the Philippines, Salonga has also appeared in Les Miserables (the first actress of Asian descent to play both Eponine and Fantine on Broadway), and in the Broadway productions of Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Allegiance. Her voice will be familiar to legions of Disney animated films, having provided the singing voices of Princess Jasmine in Aladdin and Fa Mulan in Mulan. She was named a Disney Legend in 2011.
The acclaimed revival of the musical Once on This Island took home the honor of Best Revival of a Musical at the 2018 Tony Awards. Under the direction of Michael Arden, the atmospheric production in-the-round at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre brought new life to the 1990 musical based on the Rosa Guy novel My Love, My Love. The musical features a score by the Tony-winning duo of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime), with Ahrens also providing the book. Once on This island is choreographed by Camille A. Brown.
The revival features a cast that includes newcomer Hailey Kilgore in the role of Ti Moune, a young woman on a Caribbean island who goes in a search of the man she loves. Guided by the gods and goddesses of her island, she makes an incredible journey through the elements and endures many sacrifices to be with her beloved Daniel. Kilgore is currently joined by Cassondra James, Tamyra Gray, Quentin Earl Darrington, Alex Newell, Juliet Benn, Phillip Boykin, Courtnee Carter, Cicily Daniels, Tyler Hardwick, David Jennings, Kenita R. Miller, Isaac Powell, T. Oliver Reid, Anna Uzele, Allan K. Washington, Aurelia Williams, Mia Williamson, and Daniel Yearwood.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.