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Disney+, Continuing to Pander to Theater Kids, Is Adapting Once on This Island Into a Movie

Mama Hollywood megacorporation will provide. Photo: Joan Marcus

After releasing the filmed version of Hamilton, Disney+ has apparently decided to just go full Broadway now. Disney movies are a noted gateway drug on the dangerous road to becoming a theater person, so it all sorta makes sense. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Disney’s streaming service is developing a live-action film adaptation of the Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical Once on This Island, which first premiered Off Broadway in 1990, and recently had a Best Revival–winning run on Broadway. Based on Rosa Guy’s novel My Love, My Love: or The Peasant Girl, the show follows a young dark-skinned woman, Ti Moune, in the French Antilles who falls in love with a lighter-skinned aristocrat, and falls prey to the whims of various gods as she pursues him. It’s the rare musical to deal with colorism, but it has also been criticized for its colonialist perspective and fairy-tale plot (in a way, maybe that makes it fitting for Disney). Disney+ and producer Marc Platt (of Wicked and La La Land) have notably hired two black women to oversee this new adaptation: playwright Jocelyn Bioh (of School Girls) is writing the script, while Wanuri Kahiu (director of Kenyan lesbian coming-of-age movie Rafiki) is directing. They haven’t announced any plans for the casting, but c’mon, you’ve gotta call Alex Newell, right?

Disney+ Is Making a Once on This Island Movie