1991: South Pacific

 

In 'South Pacific', a naive U.S. Navy nurse from Arkansas, Ensign Nellie Forbush, falls in love with middle-aged French plantation owner, Emile de Becque, and his plantation. The restless American sailors, led by the entrepreneurial Seabee Luther Billis, lament the absence of women. It's so boring that "Bloody Mary", a middle-aged Tonkinese (Vietnamese) grass skirt seller, is the girl they love!  Lieutenant Joe Cable of the U.S. Marine Corps arrives on the island to take part in a dangerous spy mission. Bloody Mary tries to convince him that "Bali Ha'i" is his special island.

After learning more about Emile's past and realizing how little she knows about him, Nellie tells the other nurses "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" and break up with Emile. She meets Emile unexpectedly and realizes that she loves him. He invites her to a party on Friday to meet all his friends.

Billis convinces Lt. Cable to accompany him to Bali Ha'i. There, Bloody Mary introduces Cable to her teenage daughter, Liat. The two fall in love, just as Bloody Mary planned. The two couples – Nellie and Emile, Liat and Joe – gain deepening affection, and marriages are proposed. But Nellie has deep-seated ethnic prejudices, and Emile tells her after his party that he is a widower with biracial children, Ngana and Jerome, from his marriage to a Polynesian wife. Nellie, torn between her long-held prejudice and her heartfelt love for Emile, refuses to marry Emile.

Dejected and with nothing to lose, Emile agrees to join Joe on his dangerous mission behind Japanese lines. The two send back reports on enemy forces which the Americans use to intercept and destroy Japanese convoys. "Operation Alligator" gets underway, and the previously idle sailors, including the reluctant Luther Billis, go off to battle. Joe is killed; Emile narrowly escapes a similar fate. Nellie, meanwhile, spends time with Ngana and Jerome and learns to overcome her prejudices. Emile returns home to the now-understanding Nellie and his – soon to be their – children.

South Pacific is generally considered to be one of the greatest musicals in history, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and book by both Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The story draws from James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1948 book, Tales of the South Pacific. The musical won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950 - the issue of racial prejudice was sensitively and candidly explored, particularly for a 1949 stage work. Several of its songs, including "Bali Ha'i," "Some Enchanted Evening," "Happy Talk", "Younger than Springtime," and "A Wonderful Guy" have become worldwide standards. The Broadway production of South Pacific was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won all of them, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Libretto. It was the only musical production ever to win all four Tony Awards for acting. The show was a critical and box office hit, and the musical has since enjoyed many successful revivals and tours and spawned a 1958 film and other adaptations.

 


 

Our 1991 cast is:

 

Nellie Forbush - Nan MacDonald

Emile De Becque - Jim Speirs

Luther Billis - Bill Coldwell

Bloody Mary - Nan Weir

Lt. Joe Cable - Jeff Adams

Liat - Jackie Speirs

Stewpot - David English

Professor - David Wylie

Ngana - Gayle Lourie

Jerome - Andrew Wylie

Henri - Alastair Smith

Cpt. George Brackett - John Danskin

Commdr. William Harbison - Derek Werrett

Ensign Lisa Manelli - Lenna Gray

Ensign Pamela Whitmore - Fiona Scott

 

Producer...Douglas Snedden

Muscial Director...Eddie MacLennan

Choreographer...Janet Hutchison