David Pittsinger, Heather Botts & More to Star in Riverside Theatre's SOUTH PACIFIC; Cast Announced

As Riverside's celebrated 40th Anniversary Season continues, the full cast of the theatre's premier production of South Pacific is complete and joins the previously announced casting of Opera star David Pittsinger as Emile de Becque. South Pacific performs on the Stark Stage from February 18 - March 9, 2014 and is sponsored by our Patron Producers.

Composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan, South Pacific premiered on Broadway in 1949 and was an immediate hit, running for over 4.5 years and 1,925 performances. When South Pacific closed in 1954, it was the second longest running musical in Broadway history, second only to Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

The musical, based on James A. Michener's 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific, primarily combines elements of two of the stories in the book. Rodgers and Hammerstein set the musical in the Solomon Islands and combined the storylines of "Fo Dollah", about Bloody Mary, Liat, and Lt. Cable; and "Our Heroine," which was the story of Emile de Becque and Nellie Forbush. When the stories were adapted for the musical, the characters and details were merged and simplified for the stage.

The plot centers on an American nurse, Nellie Forbush, stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a middle-aged French plantation owner, Emile de Becque, but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. The romance between a U.S. officer, Lieutenant Cable, and a young Tonkinese woman, Liat, also explores the difficulties of cultural differences as Lieutenant Cable fears the social consequences should he marry his Asian sweetheart. The issue of racial prejudice is candidly explored throughout the musical, but most poignantly expressed in the song, "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught."

The original Broadway production, starring Mary Martin as Nellie and Ezio Pinza as Emile, enjoyed immense critical and box-office success earning over $1,000,000 in ticket sales days after the show opened.

Winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, South Pacific had an equally successful five-year tour throughout the United States, but provoked controversy in the South because of its racial theme, for which its authors were unapologetic.

The Broadway production won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Libretto, and is the only musical to win Tony Awards in all four acting categories. The original cast album was the bestselling record in all of the 1940s. The show has enjoyed many successful revivals and tours, spawning a 1958 film starring Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor, and various television adaptations. The 2008 Broadway revival was a commercial and critical success winning seven Tonys, including Best Musical Revival.

South Pacific is Directed and Scenically Designed by Allen D. Cornell, Producing Artistic Director of Riverside Theatre and stars: David Pittsinger (Emile de Becque), Heather Botts (Nellie Forbush), Jodi Kimura (Bloody Mary), Faye Bautista (Liat), Ross Lekites (Lt. Joseph Cable), George Merrick (Luther Billis), Joseph Dellger (Capt. George Brackett), Benjie Randall (Professor), Mark DiConzo (Stewpot), Mark Epperson (Cmdr. William Harbison), Micah Nalzaro (Jerome), Morgan Moss (Ngana), Happy McPartlin (Lead Nurse), and Darrell T. Joe (Henry).

The ensemble cast includes: Madeleine Barker, Judy Cornell, Seth Danner, Shiloh Goodin, John Grieco, Patrick Lavallee, Alexander Levin, Christian Marriner, Ben Mayne, Garen McRoberts, Katie Mitchell, Jason Pintar, Matthew Charles Thompson, and Karen Zondag.

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