Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s well-known Broadway play and award-winning South Pacific was based on James Michener’s prize–winning book Tales of the South Pacific. It opened on Broadway April 7, 1949, and closed January 16, 1954 after 1925 performances. In 1958 it was made into an award-winning film starring Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor. The Rubicon Theatre in Ventura is concluding their 20th anniversary season with a spectacular production of this marvelous musical playing through Dec. 23.
South Pacific features glorious ballads by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein as well as comic and upbeat songs accompanied by a two-piano adaptation. Brent Crayon is the Musical Director and First Keyboard Player and Lee Martino is the Choreographer. It also features a cast of 28 very talented performers, all under the direction of Katharine Farmer.
South Pacific takes place on an island in the South Pacific during World War II where two unlikely couples find love but are torn apart by differences that are difficult to overcome. Nellie Forbush (Madison Claire Parks) is an American Nurse from a small town, stationed on the island. She meets and falls in love with a French plantation owner, Emile de Becque (Benjamin Jay Davis).
Lt. Joseph Cable (Alex Nee), also stationed on the island with an army battalion, falls in love with Liat (Jamie Yun), a beautiful shy native girl, after meeting her through the efforts of her very assertive mother, Bloody Mary (Jodi Kimura).
Nellie discovers that Emile had been married to a native woman (deceased) and is the father of two adorable children, a boy and a girl (Ian Nunney and Isabella De Los Santos). But Nellie is unable to accept the biracial children and breaks her engagement to Emile while Joe can’t imagine bringing home an island native, though he admits he loves Liat.
The play follows the two love stories while cast members perform the roles of the nurses and members of the army who are all based on the island, much done through Roger’s and Hammerstein’s apropos songs and dancing by all. I never could have imagined how the small stage of the Rubicon theatre could feature a show with such a large cast but they do a miraculous job with the entire production and with such quality performers. The two leads, Ben Davis and Madison Claire, have wonderful voices and do justice to every song they sing.
South Pacific plays Wednesdays at 2 PM and 7 PM, Thursdays at 7 PM, Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM, through Dec. 23, at the Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura, CA. For tickets call (805) 667-2900, or go online at www.rubicontheatre.org. To enjoy “some enchanted evening”, you won’t want to miss it!