Dance into the 2012-2013 Freedom Season with Broadway Musical, Once on This Island

Pine Bluff, AR– If the tropical and political storms of the past weeks haven’t moved you, then just wait to see the song and dance-filled musical presented by the John McLinn Ross Players (JMRP) of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). With book & lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, Once on This Island, winner of the 1995 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, is based on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy. Plan ahead for the rest of the 2012-2013 Freedom Season including the February 2013 children’s musical, The Gingerbread Man by David Wood, and biting political comedy by Karani Marcia Leslie, The Trial of One Short-sighted Black Woman Versus Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae in April 2013.

The John McLinn Ross players rehearsing for Once on This Island

In addition to the regular season, UAPB’s Director of Theatre Cheryl Collins will premiere her newest one-woman show, If I’m Lyin’, I’m Flyin’, on December 5, 2012. A special fundraiser for the JMRP’s spring conference in Baltimore, MD, the evening features the show about pioneering Black aviator, Bessie Coleman, and will be presented along with BAD (Black And Defiant), an uplifting look at Black men who have dared to be great by Stephan Collins-Stepney.

With performances beginning Thursday, November 15th and ending Sunday, November 18, 2012, the JMRP plans to take you on a journey to the “jewel of the Antilles,” a former French colony where the people are divided by class and color. On this island, audiences are bound to laugh and cry as they follow the journey of Ti Moune, a poor orphan who grows up to find her freedom from death through love for a wealthy young man. Reminiscent of both The Little Mermaid and Romeo & Juliet, but soaked in rich Caribbean flavors, this popular musical is appropriate for children and adults who are enthralled by storytelling and lyric movement. Outstanding student talents Samille Palm and Clarence Stokes are the Choreographers while student musicians: Rashad Maybell; the band, Ear Candy; and Professor of Music Harold Fooster, back the performers.

Directed by Cheryl Collins and under the Musical Direction of Melissa Davis, Voice Instructor at UAPB, this production is a theatrical collaboration of the highest caliber. Call 870-575-8428 to book your season, group or individual tickets for performances of Once on This Island at the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center on the campus of UAPB.

For more information, contact Alexis Skinner at 870-575-8428 or


Thursday, November 15 | 7:30 pm (UAPB Student Night)

Friday, November 16 | 7:30 pm

Saturday, November 17 |  3:00 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday, November 18 | 3:00 pm


General Admission $10

Children and Students $5

Groups of 20 or more $6


Golden Lion Rate $25 (1 ticket/ production)

Coalition Rate $50 (2 tickets/ production)

Lion’s Pride Rate $100 (4 tickets/ production)


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