Memorable Cast Makes 'South Pacific' Soar at Paper Mill Playhouse

April 14, 2014 at 1:05 PM

MILLBURN, NJ - Those glorious Rodgers and Hammerstein songs just keep coming and coming, all awash on the shores of the South Pacific.

The show is receiving an unforgettable production at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. Director Rob Ruggiero has assembled a superb cast that brings joy and passion to this familiar story, based on James Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific.”

Mike McGowan as Emile de Becque has a rich baritone that’s a real show-stopper, especially with the grand “Some Enchanted Evening” and the pensive “This Nearly Was Mine.” McGowan charmed audiences several years ago as the rakish Petruchio in “Kiss Me Kate.” Will he be back for “Can Can,” next fall’s opener? 

Sign Up for E-News

Erin Mackey as Ens. Nellie Forbush has the Southern drawl to convince us she’s from Little Rock, Ark. And that’s a crucial element in this play, as much revolves around racial issues that some Americans struggle with on the Polynesian island. Mackey brings a wealth of exuberance to the part, from “A Cockeyed Optimist” to “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy.”  But at the heart of it, there’s an intimacy that makes you believe these two love each other.

Well, the song titles are endless, all memorable, and all hummable with words you won’t forget.

Loretta Ables Sayre is Bloody Mary, who is determined to sell grass skirts and shrunken heads to the Seabees on the island. Her renditions of “Bali Hai” and “Happy Talk” show tremendous range, from pleading to a harsh realism.  Mary is determined to marry her lovely daughter, Liat (Jessica Wu), to Lt. Cable. When Doug Carpenter as Cable sings “Younger than Springtime,” the audience just about explodes. The tender love song is beautifully rendered.

But there’s so much more to this play than lots of singable songs. The message of prejudice, as in the powerful, understated “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught,” is a brilliant example of the way prejudice gets under our skin and in our minds. ”You’ve got to be taught, before it’s too late, before you are six or seven or eight, to hate all the people your relatives hate. You’ve got to be carefully taught. ”)  Hammerstein’s words still carry a powerful message.

Then we have the wise-cracking sailors with “There is Nothing Like a Dame” with Tally Sessions as Luther Billis, constantly wisecracking and stirring up trouble.  

A hilarious Nellie sings “Honey Bun” for the camp’s show, with Billis dressed as a hula girl in grass skirt and coconut breasts. What’s striking about that throw-away ditty is that it’s used to dramatic effect in Act II, just as the troop is being shipped out.

Although “South Pacific” was written 65 years ago, it still seems fresh and new.

Even the children, Ngana and Jerome, singing;”Dite-Moi” are appealing without being overly sweet. Costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by John Lasiter, choreography by Ralph Perkins and music direction by Brad Haak all deserve credit for making this quite a show. Michael Yeargan’s scenic design provides a mystical  “Bali  Hai” that sometimes shimmers in the distance. .

For a perfectly enchanting evening, don’t miss “South Pacific.” Performances continue at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn through May 4. For tickets, call (973) 376-4343 or visit papermill.org. 

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Union County College Names New Governor to the Board

December 10, 2016

CRANFORD – At the Dec. 6, 2016 meeting of the Union County College Board of Trustees and Governors, Tamecka M. Dixon, former WNBA All-Star, was sworn in to serve as a new Governor. Ms. Dixon, of Westfield, is the owner and operator of Avis Car Rentals Services in Westfield, NJ.

Ms. Dixon grew up in Union County. She attended Linden High School, where she was named a High School ...

Sharing is Caring at Westminster Nursery School

During the holiday season Westminster Nursery School emphasizes giving with the children. The children collected items for Operation Gratitude, sending toys and school materials to children all over the world, Mt. Carmel Toy Drive, pajamas for the One Million Good Nights, and collected baby food for the Little Flower Church Food Bank in Berkeley Heights.

These hands on experiences teach the ...

Last Chance to Purchase Berkeley Heights Ornaments and Magnets for the Holidays

Area residents who ordered magnets and ornaments during last week’s Santa visit and Tree Lighting may pick them up at Berkeley Hardware.

Ornaments and magnets remaining in inventory are available for purchase at Berkeley Hardware or at Hall’s Garden Center and Florist.  Ornaments are priced at $10 each and magnets at $5 each, payable in cash or check to Berkeley Heights ...

Our Town

December 5, 2016

To the Editor:

The past few years have brought on a numerous number of debates, the Redevelopment Act, new town hall, change in our downtown area, the Supreme Court ruling on COAH to name a few. Many of you know I do not agree with some of the above BUT I am only one person. I have learned to sit and study the different situations to understand them by researching.
The other thing that we ...

Letter to the Editor by Edmund Tom Maciejewski

Dear Editor,

 

In accordance with a ballot question that was passed in November 2005, Berkeley Heights switched from a Township Committee form to a Mayor-Council-Administrator form of government under the Faulkner Act or OMCL ( Optional Municipal Charter Law ).

There are 4 categories of municipalities under the Faulkner Act. The Mayor-Council-Administrator form that was chosen by ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

The Mayor's Roundtable November Edition

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mayor's Round Table is a monthly show hosted by Dr. Donald DeFabio, who sits with Mayor Robert Woodruff to talk about current issues that affect the township as well as answer questions submitted by citizens. 

Included in this episode are discussions regarding the next step to creating a Peppertown Park committee; Board of Education ...

Shannon's six week transformation story

Shannon just finished her 6 Week Transformation, here were her results: 

Dropped 2 Pant sizes
Energy Level went from a 2 to a 9
Confidence level from a 5 to a 9

She was very happy and satisfied with these results, but the best result was taking her focus off the scale! For years Shannon only measured her success for her health by weight loss.

When we sat down in the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_6435a3c7c84d3883aa2e_animal_shelter

Sat, December 10, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Give Back & Help a Local Animal Shelter

Giving Back

Carousel_image_96fe69a843c33a88747d_dab3f69e0779f6f216b2_merry_fitness

Sat, December 10, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Merry Fitness – A Program To Get You Through The ...

Health & Wellness

Sat, December 10, 9:00 AM

Union County College, Cranford

Intermediate QuickBooks

Education

Carousel_image_eddca464c0eb829d8f48_2fe042fe13c664e208fb_236df31108f88ed15077_santa

Sat, December 10, 10:00 AM

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, December 10, 10:00 AM

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa at Reeves-Reed ...

Arts & Entertainment Home & Garden

Carousel_image_894c8c1cc9457d5df51f_15179060_1252121101512050_6603757374533061898_n

Sat, December 10, 10:00 AM

TMC's Boutique, New Providence

Kids' Shopping Day at TMC's Boutique Saturday, ...

Arts & Entertainment

Which is Best: Lump Sum or Pension Annuity?

Is a lump sum offer from an employer a better choice than a pension annuity for life? The former provides an immediate up-front amount (say $300,000), but the pension annuity gives you a stream of payments for life (example: $1,350 per month). A number of employers dangle a lump sum offer to employees in part to remove future liabilities from their balance sheets. It’s tempting for ...

Alex Pitt Among Youth Players Heading to North American Soccer Finals

Alex Pitt of Berkeley Heights is a member of the NJ Elite U13 Cobras team playing in the North American Soccer Finals at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL on December 9. NJ Elite Cobra is currently ranked third in New Jersey, fifth in the Region and ranked 13 nationally.  

NJ Elite Cobras team is a competitive regional boys soccer team that plays in the ...