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KM Perform students bring a fun, vibrant Caribbean musical to the stage on Feb. 23-25 at Kettle Moraine High School.

The musical "Once On This Island" is based on the novel "My love, my love" by Rosa Guy, which is loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Little Mermaid.”

"No one should expect the Disney mermaid when they come to see this," noted producing director Abby Kean.

This show is different from past KM Perform productions during the school year in that it is almost exclusively song and dance, throughout the entire performance. In past years, Perform didn't have a trained choreographer, so the shows they chose veered away from lots of dancing and stuck with a combination of singing and acting, said Kean.

But this year, choral director Jennifer Schwingle has a choreography background, and many students in the production have dance training or wanted to do a lot of dance, and the show highlights that artistic perspective.

"We are always trying to train artists in their area," added Kean. "This show, because it has that storyteller folk tale feel, has lots of opportunities to be creative."

The story is written by a woman who grew up in the Caribbean and is infused with Haitian culture and folk tale gods. This tied in with lessons on Haitian history, colonial history, the French influence, storytelling as a genre of literature, religious differences in culture, environmental factors, present day situations facing Haiti.

Because of these curricular connections, and to show the rich background of the story, some students worked on a lobby display to showcase all the curricular aspects.

"The audience is going to come and learn more about the culture, see those curricular projects students did and get a view into our background process with some costume sketches and practice props from the set design," explained Kean. "Hopefully it prepare the audience to come in and enjoy the show."

KM Perform focuses on interdisciplinary learning. With the musical being one of the biggest projects of the year, with about half of KM Perform students involved, the production provides involvement from students interested in graphic design, costuming and art.

KM Perform senior Kate Ferguson has been involved with about 16 shows, working backstage and onstage. For "Once On This Island," Ferguson serves as stage manager.

She's made cold calls to businesses and parents to gain sponsorships, coordinated plans "that often get pushed off but are important," and worked on the program and publicity events.

"It's been a great opportunity for not only talking at people, but collaborating with them," said Ferguson. "I think oftentimes that's a hard lesson to learn in high school."

Shows are at 7 p.m. Feb. 23-25 and at 1 p.m. Feb. 25.

Ticket are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and K-12 students. There is a $1 off discount price for all KMHS campus staff and students on Thursday night. To purchase advance tickets or for more information, go to

Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office beginning one hour before curtain.

If you go

WHAT: KM Perform's performance of "Once On This Island"

WHEN: 7 p.m. Feb. 23-25, and 1 p.m. Feb. 25
WHERE: Auditorium, Kettle Moraine High School, 349 N. Oak Crest Drive, Wales 

COST: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and K-12 students. $1 off for all KMHS staff and students at Feb. 23 performance.

MORE INFORMATION: for information and advance tickets

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