Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC Next Onstage at Larry Keeton Theatre Today-28
Rodgers and Hammerstein's iconic 1949 musical about life, romance and hardships during World War II, which broached serious and controversial social issues still being dealt with in the 21st century - South Pacific - debuts at The Larry Keeton Theatre in Donelson for an October 12-28 run.
Nashville actors Lindsay Terrizzi Hess and Chris Cavin lead the cast as the show's star-crossed lovers - nurse ensign Nellie Forbush and French planter Emile DeBeque - in the lushly scored musical that is under the direction of Jeffrey Ellis, with musical direction by Noah Rice and choreography by Tosha Pendergrast. . Sara Christine Kistner is production stage manager, with scenic design by Jim Manning, lighting design by Stella London, costume design by KennaLee Davis and sound design by Allan Stokes. Jamie Robbins London is producer.
South Pacific is composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances.
Set against the dramatic background of an idyllic South Pacific island during WWII, Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific intertwines the themes of romance, duty, and prejudice to create a story that is all at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. Based on the anecdotes of a real-life U.S. Navy commander who was stationed on an island, the musical follows two intercultural love stories: Nellie, a spunky nurse from Arkansas, falls in love with Emile, a French plantation owner on the island who has two children from his late Polynesian wife; at the same time, U.S. Lieutenant Cable falls for a beautiful island native named Liat. Both Americans find themselves struggling to reconcile their own cultural prejudices with their amorous feelings, all the while under the dark cloud of a war that is coming ever closer to their island paradise.
Several of its songs - including "Bali Ha'i", "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair", "Some Enchanted Evening", "There Is Nothing Like a Dame", "Happy Talk", "Younger Than Springtime" and "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" - have become popular standards.
South Pacific won ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Libretto, and it is the only musical production to win Tony Awards in all four acting categories. Its original cast album was the bestselling record of the 1940s, and other recordings of the show have also been popular. The show has enjoyed many successful revivals and tours, spawning a 1958 film and television adaptations. The 2008 Broadway revival, a critical success, ran for 996 performances and won seven Tonys, including Best Musical Revival.
In addition to Hess and Cavin, the cast features Keeton Theatre favorites Austin Jeffrey Smith as Lt. Joe Cable, Brian Best as Luther Billis, Brooke Leigh Davis as Bloody Mary. Murfreesboro student/actress Shelby Jones makes her Keeton Theatre debut as Liat.
Kim Leslie, who for ten years was part of Nashville's highest rated radio morning show on Mix 96, makes her Keeton Theatre debut as Lt. Genevieve Marshall, the head of the nurses in South Pacific.
Other members of the ensemble include Olivia Harper, Hayden Williams, Gage Sharp, Matt Stapleton, Randell Bowers, Craig Hartline, Earl Landress, Trevor Golter, Drew Dunlop, Matt Sutherland, AJ Harris, Elizabeth Sisler, Tiffany Roberts Day, Stella London, Mara Bloomfield Smotherman, Michaela Zip and Stephanie Hale Williams.
Earlier this year, Ellis directed both My Fair Lady and Daddy's Dyin'...Who's Got the Will and will direct Winter Wonderettes to close out 2017 at The Larry Keeton Theatre. Rice co-directed and music directed Mary Poppins and Big River and will music direct Winter Wonderettes.
Tickets for South Pacific are available by calling the box office at (615) 883-8375 or online at www.thelarrykeetontheatre.org.
Tickets for dinner and show are $30 for adults and $20 for children under 12; for show only tickets are $25 for and $15 for children under 12. There is a special show-only price of $18 per adult for Thursday night shows. Salmon upgrade for dinner is available for $7. Group rates for parties of 15 or more are also available. Dinner seating begins at 5:45 p.m. with curtain at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and seating at 12:45 p.m. for luncheon with curtain at 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees.
This production of South Pacific is made possible through generous grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Metro Arts Commission of Nashville, FiftyForward, presenting sponsor, McKendree Village, and through licensing agreements with R&H Theatricals.