Based on My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy, Once on This Island opened Off-Broadway in May 1990. It subsequently opened on Broadway on October 18, 1990 and closed on December 1, 1991. The show had a West End premiere in September 1994.
The original Broadway production was nominated for several Tony awards, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Direction and Best Choreography.
The original cast reunited with special guest, Lillias White to perform the show in concert for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids.