2007-07-06 / Community

'South Pacific' On Tap From RTC This Weekend

The excitement is mounting at the Post Theatre as the Rockaway Theatre Company prepares for the opening of its second musical production of the season. South Pacific opens tonight, July 6, and will run for three consecutive weekends. The show features classic Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes like, "Some Enchanted Evening", "There is Nothing Like a Dame", "Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" and "Bali Ha'i". The book was written by Oscar Hammerstein and Joshua Logan and was based upon James Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning Tales of the South Pacific. The Rockaway Theatre Company production, directed by John Gilleece, conducted by Walter Birkhold, and choreographed by Nicola DePierro, offers audiences a very special evening of classic theatre.

Like most of Rodgers and Hammerstein's great productions, South Pacific was unique and broke new ground in its time. The operatic quality of Richard Rodgers' music was considered unusual for musical comedy in 1947. The subject of prejudice, which had not been discussed previously in the musical comedy genre, is a major theme of the play. According to Susan Jasper, the show's producer, "Although the show was first produced 60 years ago, its content is very meaningful to us today, as it deals with men and women of our armed forces stationed far from home during wartime."

RTC set designer, James Cantirino, with the assistance of artist John Russo, has transformed the stage into a South Pacific island. RAA President Geoff Rawling completes the incredible set with the design and construction of the volcanic island of Bali Ha'i. As the artists have dressed the stage, RTC costumier, Peggy Vivino, (an artist in her own right), has once again dressed the cast in beautiful and unique costumes recreating the style of clothing, both military and civilian, of the World War II era.

When asked if he was pleased with the production, Director John Gilleece responded by saying, "Our first blockbuster production of the season, Oliver!, set the bar very high. I am confident that South Pacific will rise to meet the standard. RTC's 10th season will surely be our best season yet."

South Pacific will be presented on July 6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. There will be matinee performances on July 8 and 15 at 2 p.m. House Manager Peggy Page urges readers to make reservations immediately as shows are already very close to selling out.

Call 718-850-2450 for reservations now, as there may not be any tickets left at the box office before scheduled performances.

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