After a successful first week of shows, the Lyric Performing Arts Company’s production of “South Pacific” returns Thursday for five final performances.
It’s the last chance for Brownwood area audiences to see the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic about love that blooms between locals and military personnel stationed on a remote Pacific island during World War II.
Performances are scheduled at the Mark Girling Performance Hall in the Lyric Theatre for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday. Tickets at $20 for adults and $10 for students are available at the door, but seat reservations may be made in advance online at www.brownwoodlyrictheatre.com.
Special rates are available for groups, and the Friday matinee offers reduced ticket prices for senior adults.
The story centers around a young Navy nurse and an older French expatriate who meet at an officers dance during World War II, and quickly fall in love. Their future together is complicated by numerous hurdles: the nurse’s Southern upbringing, her mother’s long-distance lack of support, the French planter’s two mixed-race children whose mother had passed away, and the general mores of the era.
Deanna Erxleben plays Ensign Nellie Forbush, and Jeff Woods plays Emile de Becque.
Subplots include a native woman’s efforts to match up her daughter with an American husband while maintaining a thriving souvenir business with the servicemen. Suzi Harkey plays Bloody Mary, and she along with Erxleben and Woods perform most of the musical’s signature hits.
Stephen Haynes is cast as Luther Billis, an enterprising Seebee who provides comic relief and helps tie together several otherwise unrelated situations and characters.
Other key characters include Utah Robertson as Marine Lt. Joseph Cable, Addison Miller as Cable’s Tonkinese love interest Liat, Edward Yantis as island military commander Capt. George Brackett, and Terry Cantwell as Brackett’s executive officer Cmdr. William Harbison. De Becque’s children are played by Caroline Welker and Carson Hill.
“South Pacific” opened on Broadway in 1949 at a time when inter-racial relationships were not generally accepted, and the show prompted controversy especially in the southern U.S. But it won 10 Tony Awards, and was chosen for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950.
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.
The show is directed by Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, and the orchestra is conductor by Dean Kiesling. Larry Mathis is technical director and set designer. Lori Arp is costumer, assisted by Kris Henry. Stage manager is Gabrielle McWhirter. Christopher Freeland is sound operator. Abbey Breadsley is light board operator. Randy Harkey was lead craftsman for set construction. Stephen Haynes was set craftsman, and Curtis Butler was set painter. Set interns were Christopher Freeland, Isaac Howell and Gabrielle McWhirter.
Key songs in the production include “Dites-Moi,” “A Cockeyed Optimist,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Bloody Mary,” “There Is Nothing Like a Dame,” “Bali Ha’i,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy,” “Younger Than Springtime,” and “Happy Talk.”
The complete cast list for the Lyric production follows: Ensign Nellie Forbush — Deanna Erxleben; Emile de Becque — Jeff Woods; Ngana (his daughter) — Caroline Welker; Jerome (his son) — Carson Hill; Henry, his native servant — Derek Smith; Bloody Mary — Suzi Harkey; Liat (her daughter) — Addison Miller; Luther Billis — Stephen Haynes; O’Brien — Isaac Howell; Stewpot — Zac Allen; Professor — Forrest Blanton; Lt. Joseph Cable — Utah Robertson; Capt. George Brackett — Edward Yantis; Cmdr. William Harbison — Terry Cantwell; Lt. Buzz Adams — Randy Yeakley; Yeoman Herbert Quale — Bryce McWhirter; Radio Operator Bob McCaffrey — Keith Taylor; Shore patrolman — Derek Smith; Lead Nurse Genevieve Marshall — Brittany Martin; Ensign Dinah Murphy — Melanie Potter; Ensign Janet MacGregor — Kenedi Deal; Ensigns (Nurses) — Abbi Allen, Ashton Jones, Emily Beane, McKenna Towell; Hasinger — Andrew Taylor; Johnson — Seth Kear; Marine — Samuel Cox; Seabees — Doug House — Clinton Moore; Islanders — Danna Beane, Mary Kyle, Cassie Pena, Scarlett Petty.