Island in the Storm

The musical takes place on the island of Matuba. The Matubans have been living there for centuries in a simple traditional way. A group of wealthy immigrants, called Highlanders as they live in the high areas, came only a few generations ago and tricked land and water rights from the the Matubans. Climate change with longer droughts, sealevel rise and more severe storms have further worsened living conditions for the Matubans.

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Palm tress storm

‘Island in the Storm’ is about what really matters in life; interaction and love between people and to be in tune with nature. We’re all more or less traumatized, which can lead to trying to fill voids through greed, overconsumption or seeking power. True healing happens when we all work together as one in tune with each other and mother earth. This musical moved me deeply as it is very healing. The song ‘Take my fear’ made me break down and cry, it touched so deeply. – Helene Kvinlaug, Actress, Oslo 2023


About the Musical

As a singer-songwriter I have always wanted to write a musical. My husband Harold Leffertstra works with climate change so we’ve had many passionate talks on this subject. This musical, Island in the Storm, came from those talks.

In the spring of 2019, before Covid, my mother passed away. I stayed on in New York and saw amazing theatre. I was finally inspired to begin. Maybe my mother’s spirit egged me on, but inspiration came and would not stop. Soon, I had a draft.

An acting school in Oslo (NSKI) loved the show and hired me to lead a workshop in May 2022 that culminated in a staged-reading. The following year Island in the Storm was awarded a grant to pay for actors and musicians for a more extensive workshop and presentation. The evening was a huge success. 

Now, a few producers abroad, and small theater companies here in Oslo, are interested. I continue preparing and polishing all they might need as I move towards a full stage production. 

Song Samples


Ancestor Voice

Give Us Guidance


Let It Ride

Make Me Stay

We Call to You

What Are Your Saying

You Are the Words

Workshop – Oslo
















Island in the Storm

Musical Numbers

Act 1 
1.   We Call to You 
2.   Who Am I to Be 
3.   Journey into Wise 
4.   Give us Guidance 
5.  What are You saying? 
6.   Grandma 
7.   Simple Love Song 
8.   Quiet Remembering 
9.   Let it Ride 
10. Her Words       
11. STORM End (Instrumental)
Act 2
1.   No One Needs More Than They Need
2.   It’s Fine 
3.   Make Light of Love
4.  You are the Words 
5.  Make Me Stay 
6.  In the Dark 
7.  You and I (or chant)
8.  Take my Fear 
9.   Ancestral Voice
10.  Stand Here Together

“Wonderful to see a musical that leaves you uplifted with the hard theme of Climate Change!”

Early Reviews

‘Island in the Storm’ is a layered musical with big and important universal themes of the danger of climate change and the urgency of working together. The music and lyrics rich in beautiful melodies and lyrics helps inspires us that what seems impossible, is more than possible.

“We must dare to follow love. Even when we’re scared. Especially when we’re scared.”

I had the pleasure to see the stage reading of Islands in the storm by Deborah Weitzman at Vega Scene in Oslo. I was fascinated by the strong and clear characters in the play which gave the story drive and excitement. Through this dramatic tale and the beautiful music the all over topic climate change got a strong and uplifting message. In times when climate change is associated with a lot of pessimism and lack of hope, we need artistic expression like this to regain our optimism.
David F. Strunck –Solo oboe Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra

Island in the Storm


Act 1 

The curtain rises to a turbulent sky. Roshina, the deceased mother of Marie, appears as a spirit. Able to see in death what she couldn’t before, she urgently warns the living of an approaching storm and pleads with her Highlander family to change their ways. (We Call to You). Philip, the most powerful man on the island and head of the Highlander’s, denies climate change and injustice. Set to host a career-defining gala, he ignores warnings from his advisor Ferdinand to lower the water in the Highlanders dam and to cancel the gala. Upset, after overhearing a fight between her parents and this warning by Ferdinand, Joanna, goes off on a longer than usual horse ride. (Who Am I to Be). On land that used to be theirs, Claudio and his adopted sister Michelle, Matubans, are gathering food from secret vegetable plots for the approaching storm. Michelle, who struggles with anxiety and has been helped by Roshina with calming herbs, is left on her own since Roshina’s death. A certain herb, Curanaji, that only grows by the dam where the Matubans can never go, keeps Michelle steady. With hardly any herbs left, she argues with Claudio. Joanna’s horse gets spooked by the unusual presence of Claudio and Michelle, throwing Joanna to the ground. Claudio comes to help her, excited by this chance meeting. (Journey into Wise). Though forbidden to interact with the Matubans, injured and helpless, Joanna is forced to spend the night in their village. There, enamored with the indigenous way of life she’s never witnessed, her eyes open to a new reality. Could she be the catalyst for change that Claudio has been waiting for? (Give Us Guidance)

Grieving the loss of her mother, Marie has let herself go. This infuriates Philip who expects a polished wife to match his status. Blinded to the ravages of climate change, he refuses to heed any warning and confronts Ferdinand. (What are you Saying). 

During the night in the Matuban’s village, Joanna wakes to strange music. Her grandmother Roshina appears with the intention to bring new awareness. Claudio arrives and joins Roshina in trying to enlighten Joanna. But Joanna is too shocked to take in these new revelations of the truth of her father’s misdeeds and assumes she’s having a nightmare (Grandma). When next morning Roshina appears again, Joanna, greatly recovered from her fall, is more ready to listen. (Simple Love Song) Michelle, who recognizes Roshina’s voice, is frustrated that she can’t see her. Until finally, she can and the  mystery of why Roshina has looked after her begins to unravel. (Simple Love Song, distorted). 

Again Philip and Marie quarrel. He cruelly wants her to do the flower arrangements, something her deceased mother, Roshina, used to do. This hurts Marie as Philip never let her grieve. It throws her more into the path of Ferdinand, who begins to find his own agency and to stand up to Philip. He shares some of his bold ideas with Marie (Quiet Remembering).

Claudio brings Joanna to the harbor to meet her father. Philip is furious that he dare be with his precious daughter, and that the ship with his cargo for the party is delayed. As the storm’s threat looms, Philip, betrayed by his own ego, makes an absorb bet with Claudio. (Let it Ride) 

The storm approaching makes everyone restless and irritable, including Joanna, who has greatly changed from her time in the village. Wanting to help Michelle (to please Claudio), she convinces Ferdinand to leave the party early and get more Curanaji herbs. Unsure of whether she and her mother should plan to evacuate to the suggested caves (even if her father won’t) Joanna seeks council from Roshina. Marie is finally able to see and hear Roshina and the three generations of women heal and bond. (Her Words). 

While Philip holds court at the gala, Ferdinand, Marie and Joanna escape. They meet Claudio and Michelle on the road to get the herbs, but the storm comes too fast, and they must seek shelter in the caves. (Instrumental) 

Act 2

The storm has been terrible. Trees are knocked over and houses destroyed. Huge damage on both parts of island but highlands were hit hardest. Roshina urges all to see they are connected and must join forces to save the island. (No one Needs More). Joanna, Marie, Ferdinand come out of cave, shocked by the devastation. Matubans aren’t happy to see these highlanders. To prevent impending conflict, Roshina casts a spell on everyone. In that moment, they discover each other anew and begin to work together.(It’s Fine). 

Philip has been badly hurt with his leg is broken. Far from ready to concede his power, he hears a strange sound. Roshina appears, hoping to change Philip but he is unrelenting (Make Light of Love). 

While working to clear the road to village, an attraction grows between Marie and Ferdinand. He shares more of his vision with her, of how things could be and something new awakens in her (You Are the Words).

Meanwhile, up in the secret garden plots, Joanna tries her best to help Claudio and Michelle. But never having picked her own food before or worked so hard, she breaks down. Michelle shames her and when Claudio doesn’t defend her, she’s hurt to the quick. Slowly he softens. (Make me Stay) During this distraction, Michelle runs off. Claudio is alarmed as he knows she’s set on destroying the dam, even if that could flood the village. 

Michelle, frantic and unstable, furious at Claudio and jealous with his attention toward Joanna, is set on trouble. (In the Dark). Roshina tries to divert Michelle, terrified if she follows through, she will also drown herself as Roshina did. Michelle doesn’t care and gathers mates to march to the dam. Philip’s troops are also on the march. A thrilling battle for control of the dam exposes the worst in both tribes. (You and I). 

Michelle is so set on her plan that when Claudio, her beloved brother and only family, stops her she is about to kill him. This triggers a full-blown fit. Prompted by Roshina, they put down their weapons and form a circle of light around Michelle (Take My Fear). Roshina finally tells her secret, that Michelle is also her grandchild, that she and Joanna are cousins. 

Philip can’t abide this getting along and knowing he’s losing power, decides to blow up the dam. Due to his broken leg, his timing is off and he injures himself, and dies. When all gather to bury him, they try yet again to find common ground. Claudio had hoped Philip could find redemption and change. (Either Ancestral voice, or Journey into Wise reprise). 

But the dam has been damaged, and all work together to sure up the dam and prevent the village flooding. The Highlanders and Matubans working together ignites a hopeful turn, that they can overcome suspicions and hatred; can embrace nature’s order in time to save the island they all call home. (Stand Here Together).

The End

Island in the Storm

Deborah Jeanne Weitzman

I teach both live and online. Contact me for a free introductory session for Voice, Breath, Alexander Technique or coaching in healthy creative living.