Saturday, September 24, 2016

South Pacific

Ensign Nellie Forbush singing,
 "I'm gonna' wash that man right out
 of my hair."
South Pacific is playing at the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street, through October 23rd on the Walnut’s mainstage. This   Rogers and Hammerstein classic, which premiered on Broadway in April of 1949 has stood the test of time. The question of whether or not love can overcome racial prejudice is as topical today as it was when James Michener wrote the tales of the South Pacific upon which the show is based. There have been several revivals and movies made of South Pacific. Rogers and Hammerstein’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning musical is familiar to all. Walnut Street Theatre’s cast and crew have had the enormous task of making this iconic musical fresh, and they have been resoundingly successful.  Kate Fahrner, as cute and perky Ensign Nellie Forbush, sings one song after another without skipping a beat. Paul Schoeffler, as Frenchman Emile de Becque, sings many a solo (as well as duet) with a deep voice that resonates throughout the theatre.  Also enchanting are the solos of Ben Michael at Lt. Joseph Cable and of course Lori Tan Chinn as Bloody Mary. It is not just these beautiful voices that make the show, however. The fourteen member ensemble is fantastic. Credit must be given to choreographer Michelle Gaudette for the exhilarating moves throughout and to Costume Designer Mary Folino for the exciting apparel. Scenic Designer Robert Andrew Kovach, working in conjunction with Lighting Designer Paul Black has created an island paradise on stage.  Thanks to a revolving section of the stage, elements of scenes can easily be rotated quickly to show different parts of the island. Walnut Street Theatre has succeeded in making a 67 year old show “younger than springtime.”  Don’t miss it.  For information or tickets, call 215-574-3550; 800-982-2787; or visit online at or ticketmaster.

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