“Ti Moune was one of my dream roles ever since I found out what the show was…” actress, Rhyan Wilson, gushes to us. She will headline as the Arts & Learning Conservatory’s very own Ti Moune during their production of Once on This Island, Jr., which opens July 16th at Concordia University’s outdoor amphitheatre.
This is the first time in County history that the Junior version of Once on This Island will be performed with BIPOC (Black, Indigeounous, or other People of Color) leads. When Arts & Learning selected this show as the culmination of their ACTivism initiative and return to live theatre, they were emphatic that this production would show the diversity, color, and talent present in the original script and in a modern Orange County.
Once on This Island is a Caribbean tale similar to Hans Christian Anderson’s story of The Little Mermaid, where a peasant girl, TiMoune, saves the life of the rich young man from the other side of the island, embarking on a journey orchestrated by the island gods to see if love is stronger than death.
No stranger to the production, we asked Ms. Wilson what was different between the Arts & Learning show and her previous experience. She remarked on it “being more diverse.” The mother of Bailey Body, playing Little TiMoune, also mentioned how happy her daughter was to see actors of color who look like her in the cast.
Rhyan is a seasoned performer, stating “I saw my mom do [theatre] growing up and I always loved being on stage for as long as I can remember.” Many members of the cast, however, are experiencing their first exposure to the rehearsals, lines, and dancing that go into creating a live performance. Despite varying theatre backgrounds, most, including Ms. Wilson enthused that their favorite part of the process has been “getting to know everyone, it was actually pretty quick how everyone got so close with each other!”
After over eighteen months of digital arts, the Arts & Learning Conservatory is delighted to return to the stage in-person. This production invites new and familiar faces to a story to connect with and enjoy together.
Tickets are available at www.artsandlearning.org/tickets/ with an ASL interpreted performance on July 17th.
The Arts & Learning Conservatory caters to K-12 students in Orange County and beyond, providing high quality, equitable and accessible arts education. They have recently partnered with local YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs to offer artistic foundations to children of first responders. Open auditions for their next production, Matilda the Musical, will be held in August.