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Disney Plus to Bring Broadway Musical ‘Once on This Island’ to the Screen

Stephanie Sengwe

Fresh off the momentum of “Hamilton” the film, Disney+ is bringing another Broadway hit to their platform. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the streaming service is currently developing the 1990 Broadway musical “Once on This Island” for their platform. Unlike “Hamilton,” however, “Once on This Island” will be made for TV as the company’s live-action department is involved in the project.

The play is based on a novel by Rosa Guy titled, “My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl.” It’s “set in the French Antilles in the Caribbean Sea and tells of a peasant girl who falls in love with an aristocrat. Against this backdrop, social class differences play out while the island gods wager a bet of what is stronger, love or death,” THR reports.

“Once on This Island” is being helmed by playwright Jocelyn Bioh and director Wanuri Kahiu. Bioh is best known as the pen behind Off Broadway’s “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play,” as well as “Nollywood Dreams.” She also served as a writer and co-producer on the upcoming HBO Max limited series “Americanah,” starring Lupita Nyong’o. She has previous writing credits from Spike Lee’s Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It” and “Russian Doll” as well.

Kahiu previously wrote and directed the LGBTQ film “Rafiki” as well as “From a Whisper” and “Pumzi.” She is currently developing “The Thing About Jellyfish” for Universal with Millie Bobby Brown rumored to be the lead.

Disney+ premiered “Hamilton” on July 3, 15 months earlier than originally planned. The move turned out be lucrative as app downloads of the streaming service in the U.S. were up 72.4 percent higher that weekend “than the average of the four weekends in June 2020 over comparable time periods (Friday through Sunday),” Variety reported.

Over the course of the weekend, the Disney+ app was downloaded 513,323 times globally, including 266,084 times in the U.S., Apptopia revealed. Since the service is available through pre-existing apps in India and in Japan, those numbers were not included in the global sum. Also not factored in were numbers from people who may have signed up for the service online and through smart TVs and didn’t download the app.

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