BWW Review: Spotlight Players of Canton Offers a Compelling and Passionate Production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC Thru Sep 25
Spotlight Players is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, and SOUTH PACIFIC is a brilliant way to begin the season. The musical is set in the midst of World War II and is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Tales of The South Pacific" by James Michener. Patrons are transported to Espiritu Santo island (via the beautiful theatre of Canton) where the novel was written from Michener's actual experiences.
Director John Sartor is certainly to the point with the staging ideas, as well as setting the overture to movement with the actors on stage. What we are seeing is wartime, and he gives due respect to that as the musical unfolds.
The set design is by architect Leo Babcock; he certainly lives up to his reputation with this creation on stage.
The musical director, Jeff Hollon, has assembled a group of talented musicians who are clearly enjoying playing this classic score, so much that they continue playing until the theater is empty.
Choreographer Peter Sonnberg helps to move the story along, and gives due justice to the dances. His rendition of Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair was a joy to watch.
The energy of the ensemble was top-notch, and it was evident they were enjoying themselves.
Robby Mulliger, who plays Lt. Joe Cable, and Elise Cloutier, who plays Liat, were simply magical together on stage. Younger Than Springtime was truly magnificent vocally, visually and emotionally.
Kurt Bowen, who plays Emile, brings lots of experience and does the role justice. Some Enchanted Evening was lovely and his reprise of Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair was quite charming.
Emily Smith, who plays Nellie, brought enthusiasm, honesty and a wonderful voice to serve this demanding role. Smith is a fine actress who was able to take Nellie to the emotional levels needed with ease. She was able to make the audience feel compassionate for her, and understand Nellie's struggles.
Ella Der-Stepanian and Evan Sartor are adorable as Ngana and Jerome.
Jamey Pittman who plays Luther Billis has the responsibility for comic relief in this show. His rendition of Honey Bun is certainly a show stopper with his costume alone.
April Denny, who plays Bloody Mary, not only brings her vocal talents to the stage, but has perfect comic timing as well. Denny is a firecracker on stage who looks great with her "beetle nut teeth." It was nice to see a children's ensemble in this production who enhanced Happy Talk as well as Overture.
Don't miss your final chance to see this classic musical as it closes this weekend, September 23-25, on the main stage at The Village Theater in Canton. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 PM and Sunday performance at 2 PM.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 734-394-5300 or visiting http://www.cantonvillagetheater.org/290/Village-Theater. Tickets are also available for purchase at the box office one hour prior to show time. The Village Theater is located at 50400 Cherry Hill in Canton.