Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical South Pacific opens April 20th at the Waterworks Players. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by James Michener, South Pacific is the telling of two parallel love stories, both of which are threatened by the dangers of prejudice and war. When the musical debuted in 1949, it won the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and nine Tony Awards.
“The genius of South Pacific is this,” says Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization on the 50th anniversary of the musical, “it turns out to be a musical which was both deeply rooted in its time and feels timeless today.” As proof, the 2008 Broadway revival won five Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical Revival and garnered 11 Tony nominations, including best revival, director, choreographer, all four acting categories and all four design categories. It won best revival and six other Tonys.
The Richard Rodgers’ score is lush and the hit songs are virtually non-stop – from the eerily seductive “Bali H’ai” to the aching romance of “Some Enchanted Evening.” But the music in South Pacific is varied and includes other memorable works like “There’s Nothing Like a Dame,” “Younger than Springtime,” “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair,” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy.”
The creative team of Dudley Sauve (Director), Carole Harper (Musical Director), Kelly Malone Dudley (Choreographer), and Hannah Boswell (Stage Manager), have assembled an excellent cast of actors from Hampden-Sydney College, Longwood University, and the local community.
This will be Waterworks third production of South Pacific, the first having been performed in the 1970s. “For Waterworks 40th anniversary, we wanted to revive a show that community members frequently ask us to perform as a way of saying thank you for the many years of support,” says artistic director Dudley Sauve. “Further, we wanted to honor the memory of Ralph Haga, who died last year. Not only did he love playing the role of Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Ralph helped the Waterworks Players obtain financing to purchase the old State Theatre on Main Street, our former home before we built a new facility in 1995.”
Waterworks production features a cast of twenty-four local performers led by Katie Robey as Nellie Forbush, the “cock-eyed optimist,” and Chris Swanson as Emile de Becque, the charming French man with a dark past. The second love story features Beau Bryan as the marine leiutenant, Joe Cable and Marianne Congleton as Liat, a young native girl and daughter of Bloody Mary, played by Kathleen Lilly. Jordan Whiley plays the role of Luther Billis, the entrepreneurial seabee.
The rest of the ensemble includes Jay Lynn, Leigh Lunsford, AuSean Williams, Ross Baldwin, Abby Swanson, Robert Chambers, Matthew Beachy, Adam Sammons, Pam Martin, Andrea Bridge, Eric Butler, Cathy Matson, Christina Pence, Allie Pettigrew, Mary Jo Stockton, Greg Tsigaridas. Leah Utz, Charles White, and many others. They are involved in singing, dancing, and a number of supportive roles.
Make reservations now to attend Waterworks Players’ production of South Pacific. Performances are at 8:00 pm on April 20, 21, 27, and 28. Tickets are $15. You can obtain tickets by calling the box office at 434-392-3452 or visiting the web site: https://waterworksplayers.org.