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This Weekend: The Musical “Once On This Island” is at the Gracie’s Black Box Theatre

Published on: April 16, 2015

BANGOR, MAINE - The New England School of Communications (NESCom) at Husson University will present the award-winning musical, Once On This Island in the Gracie Black Box Theatre on Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, April 19 at 2:00 p.m. Produced by NESCom entertainment production students annually, this show is the third time a musical has been presented in the school’s experimental theatre space. 

Once On This Island is a rousing, Calypso-flavored tale of one small girl who finds love in a world of prejudice. The story focuses on a peasant girl, Ti Moune, who rescues Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. Ti Moune falls in love with Daniel. Unfortunately, the pompous gods who preside over the island have made a bet with one another over which is stronger, love or death – with Ti Moune’s life hanging in the balance. As the story unfolds, the characters learn that the capacity to love is more powerful than society’s prejudices. 

“Audiences will fall in love with this show,” said Jeri Misler, managing director of the Gracie Theatre. “The play was inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved story, The Little Mermaid. In addition to being an entertaining tale, the musical has an infectious Caribbean score with rhythms and sounds that will make the entire audience smile.” 

Previous musicals performed in the Gracie’s Black Box Theatre included Studs Terkel’s Working - The Musical in May 2013. The follow year, the theatre hosted sell-out performances of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. 

The play, Once On This Island, received national acclaim and recognition while it was on Broadway. In addition to winning the Olivier Award, the show received eight TONY nominations, including nominations for “Best Musical”, “Best Book” and “Best Score.” Since its first production, 25 years ago, Once On This Island has been revived countess times with consistent critical success.

The NESCom production is staged by Jeri Misler, the managing director of the Gracie Theatre. Misler is well known to the Bangor theater community through her work with the Gracie as well as the Penobscot Theatre Company and Winterport Open Stage.
The show’s musical director is Ben McNaboe. McNaboe is a music director and teaching artist at numerous high schools, the Penobscot Theater, and the Stages Performing Arts Academy. In addition to directing music, McNaboe plays in pit orchestras on both reeds and keyboards. He has appeared in over 50 musical theater productions around New England. 

Together, Misler and McNaboe have been working with Husson’s musical theater performance class and other students within the entertainment production and live sound programs to rehearse, design and produce this entertaining and uplifting musical.

The performances of Once On This Island are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18 at 7:30 pm and on Sunday, April 19 at 2:00 p.m. General admission tickets are available at the door before each performance. Ticket prices are $5.00 for regular admission and $3.00 for students. Seating is limited to 50 seats for each performance so early arrival is encouraged. The Gracie Black Box Theatre is located on the Bangor campus of Husson University on the second floor of the Gracie Theatre building. 

Completed in October of 2009, The Gracie Theatre is Husson University's center for the fine and performing arts. This beautiful 500-seat theatre is quickly earning a reputation as one of Maine’s premier performance venues. In addition, The Gracie also serves as a learning platform for students from the New England School of Communications at Husson University in digital audio, sound mixing, set design and construction, lighting, acting and electronics. For more information, visit

For more than 100 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells and Northern Maine provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit

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