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RAYÁN ARNOLD, 16
Erzulie, Goddess Of Love
My name is Rayán Alicia Arnold. I am 16 and attend John Ehret High School, home of the Patriots. I have been involved in drama ever since the 6th grade. Since then, I have been in numerous amounts of plays. I enjoy acting as well as singing and dancing. In my future, I plan on continuing my journey of becoming an actress. Not only am I proud of being in this show, I am also content with the production of it all. Everyone has a talent and all you have to do is find it and use it for the best!
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ANNIE BRITTON, 8
Little Ti Moune
Hello. My name is Annie M. Britton. I play the violin. I was born in Florida. I am really happy that I am in the play and alive today. When I grow up, I am going to be a funny actress. I really love to sing songs and dance a lot on slippery floors. I am 8 years old, and I cannot wait to grow in the future. I am in 3rd grade. My teachers' names are Mrs. Stevens and Mrs. Gibson. My church is Holy Faith Temple Baptist Church. My pastor's name is Reverend Joseph C. Dyson Sr. I have 2 sisters and 2 stepsisters, and 1 stepbrother. My mom is here with me and my father lives in Florida. My mom grew up in the lower ninth ward, so I'm Louisianan. Thank you.
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ERIC T. CALHOUN, JR. 11
Armand 1
I was born in New Orleans where there are a whole bunch of chances for a young musician to develop his talents. I started playing drums at age 4 and have been playing ever since. I played a drum solo in The Satchmo Festival in 2006 and played with Corey Hunt & his Brass Band. I have a job as a percussionist at First Free Mission Baptist Church in Algiers (with pay!), and I sing in the Youth Choir of Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church. My dream in life is to get a doctorate as a broadcast journalist and a musician. A big thank you to God, James, Amanda, Gerry & Randy.
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GRIFFIN COLLINS III, 18
Papa Ge, Demon of Death
I am 18 years old and attend New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts for musical theater, with current enrollment at Math & Science High School. I have been dancing and acting for 14 years now. I was nominated for an Ambie Award for Best Featured Actor in a musical (Cats). I also have been accepted to Point Park University (BFA in musical theater), Penn State (BFA in musical theater), and College of Santa Fe (BFA in musical theater with minor in dance.) I have done many shows from Cats to Beauty and the Beast to Little Women. I thank all who have let me be a part of the production with love and thanks.
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DESHAWN DABNEY,15
Armand II
I am a 15 year old sophomore, born on August 23, 1991, who attends O. Perry Walker High School. I participate in several extra curricular activities at school such as the Drama Club, Student Union and track and field. I am also a 4.0 student. I am a part of a teen prevention agency called Youthanasia Foundation Inc. We are currently on a tour right now with Smoke-Out Tour 2006-07. We rewrite popular songs into non-smoking songs to perform all over the city. I enjoy singing, dancing and acting. This is my first musical/theatrical performance, so I'm getting a lot more experience. My dream is to be a successful entertainer. I plan on reaching my goals by staying focused and keeping up my grades and lastly, hard work and determination. I would like to thank my dad, my mom, my grandma, my uncle and my brother.
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JOEL CALLONIA DYSON, 14 1/2
Ti Moune
I am 14 and a half and attend Xaiver University Preparatory High School and NOCCA Riverfront. My mom says that I have been singing ever since I was born. "Follow your dreams" is what I always tell myself, and "I can do all things through Christ." A singer/actress is what I want to be when I grow up, so I prepare myself by embarking on new experiences such as this production of Once On This Island to help me. I attend extra activities such as music camps and Tipitanas Internship Foundation for Young Musicians. I take my dreams very seriously; therefore, I stay on top of my academic status at Prep and am on the Presidential Honor Roll. Being able to participate in this production is a wonderful once in a lifetime experience, and I will cherish this for the rest of my life.
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HANNAH GUILLORY, 16
Asaka, Mother of the Earth
I'm 16 and am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful production of Once On This Island. I've come a long way since my stage debut as "Wendy" in Once Upon A Shoe at age 9. I am a junior in the musical theater department at NOCCA. My favorite roles include "Ti Moune" in Once On This Island and "The Sour Kangaroo" in Seussical The Musical. I dream of one day being on The Great White Way in New York City. A special thanks goes to my ever supportive mother (Xs and Os) and my friend Janie! The world really is a brighter place when I take off my sunglasses.
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GRANT HUNTER, 17
Daniel
Hi! My name is Grant Hunter, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the cast of Once On This Island. I'm a senior at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts as a musical theater major with concurrent enrollment at Jesuit High. My credits include Songs For A New World (Man 1), Beauty and The Beast (Dancing Fork), and Chess (Ensemble.) This experience has nurtured both artistic and emotional aspects of my training in musical theater, and I truly thank all of those fabulous New Yorkers of After The Storm who have made such a differences in my life and the lives of others. I would also like to thank all of my NOCCA friends in the cast for being especially helpful through this process and my mother for always supporting me in my endeavors.
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TAYLOR MARRS, 17
Tonton Julian
I am a senior at Northshore High School as well as a student at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts in the musical theater department. When I attend college, I plan to major in musical theater with a minor in theater design. I have been performing for 8 years. My recent performances have been as "Nicely Nicely " in Guys and Dolls at the San Diego Jewish Community Center and in NOCCA's New Orleans Holiday story as a featured soloist. I am excited to be able to work with our amazing production staff for such a create cause, this community center's future.
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ASHLEY ROSE RICHARD, 15
Andrea
I'm a 10th grader at NOCCA, where I study musical theater, and Benjamin Franklin, where I just study. I've been performing ever since I was 4 and credit it to my very musical family. I've sung backup for Josh Groban and recently performed at a convention in Anaheim to an audience of 18,000. Like most native New Orleanians, I am excited to be back in my home town after evacuating to Hauma for almost a year after Katrina. I am currently working on my role as Adele in the NOCCA production of Jane Eyre. After high school, I plan to study advertising and musical theatre. I would like to dedicate this performance to my constant pillar of support, my mom.
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JASMIN SIMMONS, 16
Assistant to the director/Assistant Choreographer
I am a 16 year old Junior at New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School and a level 3 dancer at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). I have been dancing since the age of two. My training consists of ballet, modern, jazz, tap, African, hip-hop and many forms of cultural dance. I have trained with New Orleans Ballet Association since I was 5, and I am now employed as an intern by the organization. I am also a member of the Moving Van Project with NOBA. I have studied with Urban Ballet Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Peoples Touring Project, MDR Dance Factory, Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet Company, Luna Negra dance theater, Moscow Ballet of Russia, Ronald K. Brown and many more. I have performed in many ballets, including The Nutcracker, Kid for Elysian Fields, Little Mermaid, Cinderella, A Toy Story, The Little Match Girl and Peter and the Wolf. I plan to attend college with a major in dance. Later in life, I would like to own my own dance company and school. The school will offer free classes in dance, art, music, acting and many more art forms to underprivileged children, just as NOBA has done for many years. Naturally, both institutions will be located in this glorious city of New Orleans! I plan to be among the many talented artists in my city to help restore the art community in the post-Katrina world.
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JON STEVENSON, 17
Agwe, God of Water/Musical Assistant
I was born December 7, 1989 in New Orleans. I'm a senior in high school and attend Eleanor McMain Secondary as well as NOCCA riverfront. At McMain, I am a part of many clubs and committees and at NOCCA I study violin. I have studied stringed music with private teachers from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Orleans Parish school system. I have performed a number of classical pieces as well as won many talent shows. I started music alone in school playing the recorder then the trumpet, flute and then all stringed instruments. My teachers thought I had a great acting ability and encouraged me to get tested for Talented Arts Theatre, where I was accepted and went on to do movies, plays and commercials. As an actor this is my first musical, but not first play. I was the lead character in the popular New Orleans play Why You Wanna Kill Your Brother by Gaynielle Neville. Besides singing and acting, I love to dance, and I think I have a distinct and unique style that you don't find too much in this business. My passion will help me with everything I want to accomplish and do in this life. I love to do anything that will challenge me and that's why I took this show because I knew this was going to be a challenge. Next year, I hope to attend college somewhere in Louisiana to nurture my craft and then hope to attend Berklee College of Music. Later in life, I want to become a singer/dancer, actor, teacher, humanitarian, and R&B mogul.
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APRIL STEWART, 16
Mama Euralie
I was born on December 3, 1992. My favorite color is purple. I have a beautiful sense of personality and a great sense of fashion. I have a love for Chris Brown and Bow Wow as well. I go to Xavier Prep School and am the mascot and do it very well. I am a very cool girl in a very wide world.