BWW Reviews: The Engeman Sails to the SOUTH PACIFIC
Northport's Engeman Theatre has something special on their hands with their latest production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's Tony Award winning musical South Pacific. Running through July 14, I'm sure there will be limited availability and sold out shows throughout the run so get your tickets early.
The tale, based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer winning novel Tales Of The South Pacific, follows an American nurse, Nellie, stationed at a U.S. Naval base on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a refugee French man (Emile). Additionally, racial prejudice is candidly explored throughout the two act show. Emile has two mixed-race children and Nellie struggles to accept them, surprising herself with this realization.
Ms. Carson was superb as Nellie. I actually questioned why she wasn't in the Broadway production of this show as Mr. Gallagher was, portraying Emile there as well. She sang the legendary score with panache and didn't seem to break her Arkansas accent once. Mr. Gallagher was brilliant as well. A favorite amongst the sold out audience was his stunning rendition of the classic "Some Enchanted Evening". He also gave a heartbreakingly beautiful performance of "This Nearly Was Mine".
Also kudos to Ben Rosenbach, T.J. Russell, Justin Stephon Trice, Tim Quartier, Josh Rothberg, Evan Teich, Dennis Setteducati, Paul Velutis, Matthew Michael Uriniak, and Matt Wood on a wonderful performance of the iconic "There Is Nothin' Like A Dame".
Getting back to the racial prejudice issue, another romance between a U.S. Lieutenant, Peter Carrier as Lt. Cable, and a young Tonkinese woman, Hsin-Yu Liao as Liat, explores his fears of the social consequences should they marry. Amy Jo Phillips, who portrays Liat's Mother Bloody Mary, is also a highlight of the cast.
The first glimpse of the set, done by Josh Zagan, was interesting. Large wooden-blind type structures suspended from the rafters. It was interesting to see how this would work. Not long into the first scene, the purposeful layered look worked wonderfully well with the mid-size stage.
The Engeman delivers nothing short of wonderful theatre and South Pacific, ending their 2012-2013 season, is no exception. A wonderful cast and a classic show certainly makes this production, dare I say, a must-see on Long Island.
South Pacific is presented by the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, through July 14th. Based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize winning novel Tales Of The South Pacific, Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, Directed by Igor Goldin, Scenic Design by Josh Zangen, Costume Design by Amy Pedigo-Otto, Lighting Design by Cory Pattak, Sound Design by Craig Kaufman, Hair and Make-Up by Mark Adam Rampmeyer, Musical Direction by James Olmstead, Production Stage Management by Michelle Hines, Casting by Stephen DeAngelis. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 261-2900 or visit engemantheater.com.