On Stage

Some Enchanted Evening! South Pacific on Stage in Old Town

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The Old Town Temecula Community Theater is about to have some enchanted evenings, when Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Tony Award-Winning musical, South Pacific, takes the stage May 26th through June 12th; presented by the Temecula Valley Players.

Originally premiering on Broadway in 1949, South Pacific is based on James A. Michener’s collection of stories entitled Tales of the South Pacific.

Known for such notable songs as “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m Going to Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair,” and “Bali Hai,” South Pacific tells the story of American sailors and nurses stationed in the South Pacific during World War II.

“The musical centers around Arkansas native Nellie Forbush, who meets and quickly falls for Emile de Becque, a French expatriate and plantation owner, while Lt. Joe Cable finds himself in a passionate affair with Liat, the young daughter of Bloody Mary, the local grass-skirt and trinket peddler,” John Clark, Director of the Temecula Valley Players production said. “As the war against Japan escalates, reality sets in for both Forbush and Cable, who struggle to reconcile their unconventional romances with their long-held prejudices and insecurities.”

South Pacific debuted shortly after the conclusion of World War II, with the experiences of those stationed in the area during that time still fresh in their minds.

Directing the same musical seventy years later presented a challenge to Clark, not just in preserving the historical integrity of the show but also to make it fresh and new for a contemporary audience.

“With a classic play, you have to acknowledge that there is simply never a single, one true-and-only way to produce the work,” he said. “Every time a new cast or production or group engages with great writing such as this, something new and unique results. Everyone involved brings something different and personal to the experience.”

Having now been produced in thousands of incarnations over more than half a century, Clark feels the main premise and conflicts explored in South Pacific can still resonate with a present day audience.

“While the show is great fun and brimming with comedy, at its core it tells a story that has become a national memory,” Clark said. “It explores all of the same themes that continue to engage us today (including) the effects of racism, who our families are, who we love, and what it means to be an American.”

Clark believes that the Temecula Valley Player’s production of South Pacific will delight those who cherish the classic work, as well as those experiencing it for the first time.

“Temecula Valley Players has assembled a gifted and capable cast and dedicated and talented artistic and design teams to bring our audiences a unique and fresh vision of a familiar musical,” Clark said. “I think audiences will fall in love with the performers and the characters they have created over the course of the evening.”

For more information, and to purchase tickets for the Temecula Valley Players’ South Pacific, visit the Old Town Temecula Community Theater website.

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Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon

Holly has been covering arts & entertainment in the Temecula Valley for as long as she has been a part of the community. She loves San Diego sports almost as much as she loves her family.

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