Saturday night wrapped up a four day run of Calvert’s 5th annual full-scale musical, Once on This Island Jr. A retelling of the Little Mermaid tale, this colorful story is set in the Caribbean and features memorable melodies and lively characters. Fifty middle school students participated in total, comprising the cast, stage crew, and those who worked on the creation of sets and props. Students and teachers alike were captivated by the whole experience. “I really liked the effort that a lot of people put into it--the set was beautiful,” says Yasmine Worley.
Seventh Grader Channing LauEngler played the teenage girl Ti Moune, rescued from a flood and raised by two peasants, played by Madison Young-Emerson/Ava Wilke and Wes Seba. Several students who saw Once on This Island Jr. on Thursday report that the show stopper “Mama Will Provide” was their favorite number, sung by Mariana Garza in the role of Asaka, Goddess of the Earth. Asaka was one of four gods, based on traditional deities from Caribbean culture. The others included the God of Water (Jacob King), Goddess of Love (Inti Prada Enzmann), and the Demon of Death (Abby Buck). When asked about her transformation into the latter, Abby said, “It was really fun to embrace my 'saltiness'—I got to be grumpy all the time. It was fun to embrace being evil.”
Of course, there is more to the show than just the lead characters—it takes a whole team of people to make a musical happen. Inti Prada Enzmann especially enjoyed the collaborative nature of the show. “It was great to be with a group of people who really cared about the show and put effort into it. When needed, everybody stepped up to make it happen.” Benham Celaya concurs, “Everyone has something to do. I’ve learned how to do lights, and how the backstage of a play actually works.” Among the adults who helped out with the show were Ben Pittman (Assistant Director), Katie Leonard (Set Design), Sandry Sachar (Stage Manager), and Shannon Cheston (Lights/Sound, Parent Coordinator)—not to mention the invaluable help of Calvert’s Maintenance staff. “Theatre is definitely a community event,” says Director Alexis Tantau. “It requires a lot of energy from all involved, and it is because of everyone’s commitment that we are able to do big shows like this.”