Tuesday, October 19, 2010

South Pacific at OCPAC

[ David Pittsinger as Emile de Becque and Carmen Cusack as Nellie Forbush. Photo by Curtis Brown ]

Rogers and Hammerstein are to musicals what Joel and Ethan Coen are to film. You’re hard-pressed to find a dud in their repertoire of work. Together they are a hit-making machine, Richard Rogers providing the music, and Oscar Hammerstein II providing the lyrics. South Pacific is a prime example of their creative prowesses combined to make sweet, sweet music… literally.

[The cast performing "I'm Going To Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair." Photo by Peter Coombs. ]

OCPAC is showing South Pacific right now. I attended opening night along with hundreds and hundreds of other musical lovers. Everyone was bustling and excited to see the reinvention of the classic musical produced by the Lincoln Center Theate. The production rode into Orange County on a wave of rave reviews and incredible success at the 2008 Tonys. The production took home seven Tonys including Best Musical! The anticipation of the audience to see this award-winning production was the equivalent of a bunch of giddy children awaiting Christmas morning. I even heard one elderly gentleman singing “Some Enchanted Evening” (the most well-known South Pacific hit) as I shimmied to my seat. As the lights dimmed, the music swelled from the orchestra pit, which was full to capacity on this night, holding a full orchestra of 26 members, the largest orchestra of any touring Broadway production.

[ Anderson Davis as Lt. Joseph Cable and Sumie Maeda as Liat. Photo by Peter Coombs. ]

South Pacific follows the lives of two pairs of lovers on an island in the South Pacific during the second world war as they struggle to keep their relationships intact amidst the struggles of war, the call of duty, and the pressures of a racially prejudiced 1940’s society. The starring roles of French plantation owner Emile De Becque and Nellie Forbush, USN are played by David Pittsinger and Carmen Cusack. The second pair of lovers, Lt. Joseph Cable and young Tonkonese beauty Liat, are played by Anderson Davis and Sumie Maeda.

[ Matthew Saldivar as Luther Billis and The Seabees of SOUTH PACIFIC. Photo by Peter Coombs. ]

The men stole the production, led fearlessly by stars David Pittsinger and Anderson Davis. Less than five minutes into the musical, Paulo breaks out into an amazing rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening” that would have made late great baritone (and original cast member) Ezio Pinza proud. Then the men continue to shine in “There Ain’t Nothing Like A Dame,” one of my favorite moments of the show. The song laments the side effects of going through withdrawals from women, and the cast members sell the song, moaning and groaning around the stage, commiserating with one another. Next we get introduced to my favorite character, Lt. Joe Cable. I had high expectations for this character, as I loved the version that John Kerr played in the 1958 film version of South Pacific. I was not disappointed. Anderson Davis played Cable as a strong, tortured (and did I mention handsome?) young marine officer torn between love and duty. The way he sings “You Have To Be Carefully Taught” and “Younger Than Springtime,” is so beautifully vulnerable that it could make a grown man cry, to use the words of Mick Jagger. David Pittsinger takes the reigns again with a moving version of “This Could Have Been Mine.”

One woman stood out amongst the men, and surprisingly it wasn’t the leading lady, but rather the sharp tongued, ill-tempered Tonkonese souvenir slinger, Bloody Mary, played by Jodi Kimura. The sailors’ ode to her, “Bloody Mary,” is almost as funny as the character itself. Settle provides many a laugh throughout the 2 hour and 40 minute production, which at times is much needed when the musical hits on the deeper subjects of race and war.

South Pacific had it all: love, romance, action, rib-tickling humor, and some amazing singing performances. South Pacific at OCPAC was nothing less than an “enchanted evening.”

- Amy

Don't miss the show! It plays through October 24th.

More details:

Orange County Performing Arts Center – Segerstrom Hall
October 12 – October 24, 2010

Tuesday – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.

Orange County Performing Arts Center – Segerstrom Hall
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

Tickets:            Start at $20

In person -       The Center Box Office
                        600 Town Center Drive
                        Costa Mesa, CA 92626
                        Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
Online -            OCPAC.org
Phone -            714.556.2787
                        Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
TTY number -   714.556.2746
Group Services - 714.755.0236

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails