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May 5, 2014

Caribbean music breezes into Avon for youth production

The Biz Musical Academy will be premiering “Once on This Island Jr.”at Harmony Baptist Church in Avon.

The show’s performance dates are May 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10.

With a cast of more than 50 area youth, they will be bringing a Caribbean adaptation of the popular fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.”

“Once on This Island Jr.” is a mix of calypso scores, pop sensibility and exuberant dancing. Music Director Craig Whitcombe of Avon’s The Biz Musical Academy says, “We’ve never done a musical that has this much singing and dancing packed into one show.”

This junior version of the eight-time Tony-nominated Broadway hit tells the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who rescues and falls in love with Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of her island. After Daniel is returned to his people, the fantastical gods who rule the island guide Ti Moune on a quest that will test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred, and even death.

Cynthia Kauffman. a seventh-grader at Traders Point Christian Academy, plays the part of Ti Moune.

“My favorite part about the show is the amazing music,” Kaauffman said. “I also love working with all of the people at The Biz. It’s a great role to play because I feel she can really connect with the audience. You can expect to hear beautiful music, see great choreography and acting, and amazing talent.”

Kauffman recently played the part of Ariel in the Broadway Junior production of “The Little Mermaid.”

The antagonist of the show is Papa Ge, a self-described “sly demon of death.”

Jim Melton, a sophomore at Cardinal Ritter High School plays that part.

“I love playing Papa Ge because he’s creepy and sinister, which is a different way of acting for me,” he said. “His signature song is also amazing and fun to sing. The Caribbean-styled songs will be stuck in your head and you’ll be singing them all the time (trust me, I know).”

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