Wellington Operatic Society is about to bring the heat, light and romance of exotic islands to the stage of the Wellesley Theatre with its production of the celebrated musical ‘South Pacific’. The show opens of Tuesday 12 May and runs until Saturday 16 May.
Monica Spalding directs a “really talented cast” of experienced singers, dancers and actors – including youngsters – and several very accomplished newcomers to the society, attracted by the quality of their performances. Last year’s award-winning production of ‘Singing in the Rain’ played to full houses and no-one in the audience can have left the theatre unimpressed having been so richly entertained.
This is Monica Spalding’s fifth production – the last being ‘Summer Holiday’ in 2012 – and she is joined by Musical Director Hilary Wickham and Choreographer Christina Green.
‘South Pacific’ was composed by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II based on James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book ‘Tales of the South Pacific’. Rodgers and Hammerstein believed they could write a musical based on the book that would be financially successful and send a strong progressive message about racism – at the time a highly controversial subject in the USA. It was first performed on Broadway in 1949 and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances.
The plot focuses on an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. A secondary romance between a U.S. lieutenant and a young native islander explores his fears of the social consequences should he marry his sweetheart. The issue of racial prejudice is candidly explored throughout the musical, most controversially in the lieutenant’s song, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”. Supporting characters, including a comic petty officer and the native islander’s mother, help to tie the stories together.
Despite the controversy of its racial themes, the original Broadway production enjoyed immense critical acclaim and box-office success and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. Songs from the show have become classics, especially ‘Bali Ha’i’, ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair’, ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, ‘There Is Nothing Like a Dame’, ‘Happy Talk’, ‘Younger Than Springtime’ and ‘I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy’.
Wellington Operatic Society’s production promises to be full of vitality, warmth and humour and, with some superb singers in the lead roles, the celebrated musical numbers should be show-stoppers. Tickets are already on sale and selling fast.
Performances are from 12 to 16 May at 7.30pm with a matinee performances at 2.30pm on Saturday 16 May. Tickets are available at Nurtured by Nature in South Street or by phone from the Box Office: 01823 663597.