When this revival of a 1990 musical landed on Broadway in 2017, the reviews were ecstatic, praising its infectious Caribbean-inflected score and colorful, surprise-filled staging. (It would go on to win the Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Musical in 2018.) A timeless fable of a boy and girl from opposing clans who fall in love — this time on an island in the French Antilles — this was the first show by the team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who would later write such blockbusters as Ragtime and Anastasia. By contrast, Once On This Island is a simpler affair, and the revival, staged by Michael Arden, reputedly imbues the proceedings with an irresistible, come-to-our-party vibe.
And speaking of parties, the Straz is throwing an additional bash before Thursday night’s performance, one that’s geared especially to the LGBTQ+ community: the OUT@The Straz Happy Hour from 6-7:30 p.m. on the Riverwalk Stage just outside the center. Admission is free, there’ll be specially priced drinks and an appearance by the amazing Adriana Sparkle, and you don’t have to buy a ticket to Once On This Island to attend. But with a 20 percent discount on Thursday night tickets if you use a special promo code (partial proceeds going to Balance Tampa Bay), party-plus-show sounds like the perfect combo — relaxing by the river before you enjoy the island breezes.
Once On This Island: Tues.-Thurs. 11/19-21, 7:30 p.m.; Fri. 11/22, 8 p.m.; Sat. 11/23, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun. 11/24, 2 & 7:30 p.m.
OUT@The Straz Happy Hour: Thurs. 11/21, 6-7:30 p.m. 813-229-STAR (7827), strazcenter.org.