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Theater

Arts in Education students take on prejudice in spring musical, 'Once on This Island'

Shirley McMarlin
| Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 9:00 p.m.

Arts in Education students at Stage Right School for the Performing Arts in Greensburg are taking on a weighty topic with their spring musical, “Once on This Island,” a one-act production that debuted on Broadway in 1990.

“As it was written, it's a story about colorism within the black community in Haiti,” says director-choreographer Renata Marino. “It's traditionally done with a large African American cast, but we don't have that kind of racial diversity here, so we're focusing more on class than race.”

In materials for amateur productions, authors Lynn Ahrends and Stephen Flaherty say they have written the story to allow for flexibility in casting while retaining themes of prejudice and how differences can separate people.

“It's great that the authors give you options,” Marino says. “It's a really beautiful story, especially today when acceptance is still not a popular word.”

The story follows a peasant girl on an island who uses the power of love to bring people together.

The 35 cast members are high schoolers who are home- or cyber-schooled or who attend private schools. They come from Westmoreland, Allegheny, Fayette, Indiana and Cambria counties.

Many of the roles are double-cast, Marino says.

Performances are set for 8 p.m. May 11 and 12 in the Lamp Theatre, 222 Main St., Irwin. Preteens in the program will present “Mary Poppins Jr.” at 6 p.m. May 11 and 5 p.m. May 12.

Admission is $15, $10 for students. A ticket for a double feature is $25 if purchased beforehand through Stage Right.

Details: 724-832-7464 or stagerightgreensburg.com

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

Stage Right Arts in Education students and director-choreographer Renata Marino (right foreground) rehearse 'Mama Will Provide' for their spring musical, 'Once on This Island,' scheduled for May 11-12 in the Lamp Theatre in Irwin.
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune-Review
Stage Right Arts in Education students and director-choreographer Renata Marino (right foreground) rehearse 'Mama Will Provide' for their spring musical, 'Once on This Island,' scheduled for May 11-12 in the Lamp Theatre in Irwin.
Director-choreographer Renata Marino rehearses with students in the Stage Right Arts in Education program for their upcoming spring musical, 'Once on This Island.'
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune-Review
Director-choreographer Renata Marino rehearses with students in the Stage Right Arts in Education program for their upcoming spring musical, 'Once on This Island.'
Stage Right Arts in Education high school students rehearse for their May 11-12 spring musical, 'Once on This Island.' Cast members are home- and cyber-school and private school students from a five-county area.
Stage Right Arts in Education high school students rehearse for their May 11-12 spring musical, 'Once on This Island.' Cast members are home- and cyber-school and private school students from a five-county area.
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