Wednesday, August 19, 2015

review - SOUTH PACIFIC - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

Rick Davis and Lauren Koeritzer
photo: Lori Kunzelman
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through Sept. 19th.

"With well-known tunes and memorable characters, there is a reason that the musicals of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are not only popular but considered classics. Along with the unforgettable songs, Rodgers and Hammerstein also wisely incorporated social issues into most of their shows, and their South Pacific, which is receiving a lovely, intimate production from Don Bluth Front Row Theatre, tackles such topics as prejudice and the politics of war in a succinct yet forward way....centered on the relationship between Emile de Becque, a sophisticated middle aged planter with a complicated past and the younger Ensign Nellie Forbush, a nurse from Little Rock, Arkansas, who describes herself as a “hick.” ...David Rodgers is perfect as Emile. His forceful, clear voice does justice to his songs, including a lush, romantic "Some Enchanted Evening" and a passionate "This Nearly Was Mine." ...Lauren Koeritzer has the most range to play as Nellie..She hits all of the notes appropriately (both musically and dramatically)....The romance between Emile and Nellie isn’t the only one present in the show, with the loud mouth, animated Bloody Mary (a superb Ginger Muth Tanaka) conspiring to find a man for her daughter Liat (the poised and demure Jacqui Notorio) from the many US military men she comes in contact with. Mary thinks she has found him in the handsome Lt. Joseph Cable (Rob Dominguez) but, like the main romance in the musical, finds that all doesn’t go as planned. Tanaka is a charmer in the role, bringing this assured and cunning business woman to life in a very large and vibrant way, and Dominguez delivers a straight forward approach to the part of the smart, rich Lieutenant with his two solos, a romantic “Younger than Springtime” and the biting “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught,” hitting all the right marks....Gary Caswell directs with simplicity, letting the words and lyrics speak for themselves, something that really comes across well in the intimacy of the small theatre....The small theatre means that the vast expanse of Emile’s plantation and the beach that is supposed to be full of military personnel can’t really be portrayed, since there is no room for an elaborate set design. However, a lovely backdrop painting by Don Bluth helps to evoke the romantic call of the islands. ..With a small but talented cast, solid direction and fine creative aspects, the production of South Pacific at Don Bluth Front Row Theatre is a sturdy, pleasant production of this groundbreaking musical that has plenty of show stopping moments but also doesn’t skirt the social issues at the core."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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