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Disney + Tackling of Broadway Musical Adaptation ‘Once Upon This Island’



Ma Hamilton on Disney + being a runaway feeling, The Hollywood Reporter learned that the streaming service is working to bring another Broadway musical to the screen.

Playwright Jocelyn Bioh and director Wanuri Kahiu are developing Once On This Island, an adaptation of the 1990 Broadway musical based on the novel Rosa Guy, My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl.

Marc Platt, the producer behind Broadway’s Beloved as well as movies ranging from Legally Blonde to La La Land, is producing.

On the contrary Hamilton, which was recording a stage show, Island will be a more traditional adaptation. Disney’s direct action division is a focal point on the project.

The story is set in the French West Indies in the Caribbean Sea and tells of a peasant girl who falls in love with an aristocrat. Against this background, social class differences unfold while island gods want to bet on what is stronger, love or death.

The one musical act lasted only a year but developed quickly after the harshness that continues to withstand its flames today. A production in London’s West End in the mid-1

990s won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical while the 2017 Broadway revival netted several Tony Award nominations and a victory for better musical revival. Lynn Ahrens wrote the lyrics and the book while Stephen Flaherty composed the music.

Bioh is a playwright known for off Broadway’s School Girls; Or, The Average African Girls Games, as well Nollywood dreams. Her original musical Goddess is on track to receive her world premiere at the Berkeley Rep in spring 2021 followed by a Broadway run. Bioh recently co-founded the Black Women digital platform on Broadway, along with Amber Iman and Danielle Brooks, and served as a writer and co-producer on the upcoming limited series HBO Max Americanah, starring Lupita Nyong’o. She previously wrote for Spike Lee’s Netflix series She got it and the Netflix show Russian doll.

Kahiu is the Kenyan producer who wrote and directed the LGBTQ film Friend, which made history in 2018 as the first Kenyan film to screen at the Cannes Film Festival, even as the film was banned in its homeland due to its themes. Other credits include the African films From a Whisper and Pumzi. The filmmaker, who co-founded the African art collective Afrobubblegum, is developing an adaptation of the novel YA The Jellyfish Thing which has Millie Bobby Brown attached to the star and is set up on Universal.

Bioh is apprehended by UTA and attorney Nina Shaw. Kahiu is captured by the CAA and the Gotham Group.

This article originally appeared in THR.com.




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