College of Fine Arts and Design

UCO To Stage Theatrical Rendition of 'Once On This Island'

November 10, 2011 Once upon this island

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Music Theatre Division will present “Once On This Island,” an adaptation of the popular fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” and based on the novel “My Love My Love,” at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 17 – 19 and 2 p.m., Nov. 20 in UCO’s Mitchell Hall Theater.    

“This is a highly entertaining show.  The story is told through old-fashioned storytelling, jubilant music and Caribbean-Afro inspired dance,” said Steven Smeltzer, UCO music theatre instructor and the director and choreographer for the show.          

The eight-time Tony-nominated show features music by Stephen Flaherty and book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.  Flaherty and Ahrens are best known for “Seussical” and “Ragtime.”          

In almost non-stop song and dance, “Once on This Island” tells the story of a peasant girl, Ti Moune, who falls in love with Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of the island.  The story focuses on her quest to test the strength of her love for Daniel against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred and death.          

The thematic juxtaposition between the upper class islanders and peasants is carried throughout the show.  Elements of dance help to portray this through the waltzing upper class and the peasants’ Caribbean-Afro inspired dance.          

“This show has moments of tragedy and of humor, but overall it has a lot of heart.  It exemplifies the tenderheartedness of first love and the heartache that often accompanies it,” Smeltzer said.

To purchase tickets, call the UCO Mitchell Hall Theater box office at 405-974-3375.  Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, UCO faculty and staff, and $4 for Central students.          

For a complete schedule of UCO College of Fine Arts and Design performances and events, visit