Mulan and/or Once on this Island Junior

The question you're answering.
February 13, 2013
Has anyone done the junior versions of Mulan or Once on this Island? We are running out of junior shows to do, and these are two we haven't done yet. I have some concerns about both. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
4 answers

VIP Answer
February 14, 2013
HI Pam - Sean covered some great points. YOU have to be comfortable with the material to help your kids tell the story. Once On This Island JR is adult, it is difficult, it is sung through,and it is one of the most moving shows many of us have done when all is said and done. I piloted the original with 5th and 6th graders. If you feel very comfortable with the music end of a show as well as ACTING, take a look at it. The overall message of "telling a story", celebrating differences, human kindness vs evil are prominant and so welcome in these times. Definitely look at the perusal and then make the best decision for your kids and community. I assume you also know that Fame JR, Little Mermaid JR, Finians JR , Captain Louie, Phantom Tollbooth JR, and several new Kids versions are all available. Tough choice I know!!!

February 13, 2013
I directed Once On This Island JR about a year ago, and my kids and I both loved it. What are your specific concerns about it, maybe I can help?

February 13, 2013
Thanks for the reply, Sean. I haven't looked at the script yet, but I know the ending of the full version is pretty dark. Is it different in the junior version? Were there a fair amount of parts for both girls and boys? Have you done any other junior versions of shows that you really enjoyed?

February 13, 2013
The ending is still maintained from the full version, and yes I completely agree it gets darker than you would expect from a junior show, but I found that it simply comes down to how you portray the finale. That moment of darkness can flow really well into the poignant and heartfelt ending the show has. Essentially, I look at the show as a fairytale. When you compare it against other fairytales (especially the Grimm stories), almost every single one has a truly dark, ominous moment before progressing into the ending and giving the morals, just like this show does. Ultimately, I think it comes down to how you handle the more intense moments of the show. If you don't feel comfortable with the material or you feel your kids are too young to be portraying it (I'm not sure what age range you're working with), then it's completely understandable that you would decide not to do the show. Personally, I'm a huge fan of it, but I'm the first to say that it's not the show for everyone. Once On This Island is one of the more difficult Jr shows given the amount of music and dance involved, and therefore it makes itself one of the few Jr shows that's more appealing to an older cast. For example, I worked with a cast of 13-18 year olds. Once On This Island has wonderful opportunities for boys and girls. It's a great ensemble cast show, lots of featured characters, and the chorus is really a driving force through the whole piece. There are also several male roles that can be cast with girls if it becomes necessary. In the past, I've worked on numerous Jr shows (Godspell Jr, Annie Jr, Guys and Dolls Jr, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical Jr, just to name a few) and I really have enjoyed them all. If you're still not sure about Mulan or Once On This Island and are looking for other options, they've recently released Finian's Rainbow Jr and My Son Pinocchio Jr, and they have quite a few other new releases scheduled for this year as well.