In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast of Once on This Island, meet Ian Anthony Coleman.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform before on our local stages. Where did you get your training?
Ian: Hello! My name is Ian Anthony Coleman and I’m a DC native. Most recently you may have seen me as Wiley in Wiley and the Hairy Man at Imagination Stage, Hud in Hair!’at The Keegan Theatre or in The 27 Club with the Capital Fringe Festival. As far as training/education, I received my B.S. in International Relations and Politics from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012, attended Overtures Musical Theatre Institute at Signature Theatre last summer, and taken numerous courses at The Theatre Lab and Studio Theatre here in DC. Check out my website for more info!
Why did you want to be part of this production?
I fell in love with the Once on this Island cast CD years ago. The music is incredible and infectious. I have been waiting for an opportunity to help tell this amazing story ever since.
Have you ever appeared in a production of Once on This Island before and who did you play? What makes this production so special?
I’ve never appeared in a production of Once on this Island before. I think that this production is going to be special because the entire cast and creative team are incredibly talented and hard working, and the intimacy of the space really allows for us to engage the audience in a very direct way. I’m very excited to share this story with an audience, performing it feels magical.
How would you describe the score that Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens have written?
I love the score. The orchestrations and harmonies are so memorable and really help convey the emotions of the piece. I find myself randomly singing songs from the show throughout my day. Also most of the show is underscored, sung, or spoken in rhythm, I love that its a short island opera.
Have you appeared in any other musical written by Stephen and Lynn? If yes, which musical and who did you play?
I’ve never done another Stephen and Lynn musical, but I hope to do Ragtime and Seussical one day!
Who do you play in Once on This Island and how do you relate to your character? Do you share any similar traits? Which character is so much like you and why and how?
I play Ti Moune’s love interest Daniel Beauxhomme. I guess we have a few things in common? I speak French, Daniel is half french. I think that Daniel is a people-pleaser and has good intentions, but sometimes that gets him into a little trouble, which I can relate to as well. I guess out of all the characters, I’m most like most like him.
Tell me about the songs you sing, and what do we learn about your character as you are singing the songs?
Daniel sings a duet with Ti Moune called “Forever Yours” towards the beginning of the show, where they pledge love to one another (during a dream sequence), Papa Ge the God of Death interrupts the number and the central conflict of the show begins. Daniel’s other big number in the show is ‘Some Girls’ where he ponders on the differences between women ultimately coming to the conclusion that you don’t always end up with the person you love most.
What are some of the themes of the show that today’s audiences can relate to?
The show really focuses on the parallelism between love and death, the lasting social effects injustice and colonialism, and the connection that we as humans have to the earth and the spiritual universe. Its a beautiful tale that everyone will learn from.
Why should families bring their kids and grand kids to see Once on This Island?
The show is an absolute blast. Its so fun, colorful and musical. The cast is amazingly talented, the perfect show to bring a date or your family!
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Once on This Island at Creative Cauldron?
I hope that the audience leaves the show feeling that the spirit of Ti Moune has touched their hearts, and that they feel more open and free to love. I hope the truly understand why we tell the story!
Once on This Island plays from May 8-31, 2015 at Creative Cauldron – 410 South Maple Ave, Falls Church, VA in the Pearson Building Square Building at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Lee Highway (Washington Boulevard). Performances are Friday & Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM & 7 PM. For tickets, purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of ‘Once on This Island’ at Creative Cauldron: Part 1: Malcolm Lee.