RTC'S 'South Pacific'Makes a Big Splash
The Rockaway Theatre Company production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific opened last weekend and the first three performances were met with rave reviews and standing ovations from "sell out" capacity crowds. The deep, rich strains of "Some Enchanted Evening" as performed by the very talented Bruce Rebold, who plays the charming Frenchman, Emile DeBecque, thrilled the ladies of the audience. The gentlemen were equally impressed by beautiful young Breezy Point local Catherine Leib, as friends and audience members shared in the experience of washing DeBecque out of her lovely red hair. Comic relief was provided by Bloody Mary (played by talented singer/actress, Kathy Valentine) and the irrepressible Luther Billis, played by the ever popular, Rob Fahn. Some highlights of the show were the performance of the great standard "Nothing Like a Dame" by a male ensemble of wonderful actors and singers; "I'm In Love With a Wonderful Guy" by Leib and a bevy of beautiful Navy nurses, played by Helen Berman, Alyssa D' Angelo, Aurora Dreger, Michelle Micale, Jodee Timpone and Amy Perry; and the lilting French tune, "Dites-Moi" by two adorable youngsters, Miranda Corning and Moishe Acevedo.
The production boasts incredible and amazing scenery designed by James Cantirino and an equally amazing volcano, designed by RTC President Geoff Rawling, which actually erupts during each performance. Be sure to turn around during the performance of "Bali Ha'i" to have the privilege of experiencing it. The thrilling and nostalgic Rodgers and Hammerstein score is performed by an incredible ten-piece orchestra under the baton of Walter Birkhold.
Audiences were unanimous in their rave reactions to the first weekend of the run. Anne Rebold, Musical Director of RTC's opening blockbuster production of Oliver, and sister of Bruce Rebold who plays Emile De Becque, attended Sunday's matinee. Afterward, she observed, "I have been involved with musical theatre for many years and I am known to be an extremely harsh critic, but I have nothing but kudos for this performance. I was actually moved to tears by Catherine Leib's dramatic monologue. The incredible vocal and acting talent of both my brother, Bruce, and my dear friend, Kathy Valentine, never cease to amaze me." Audience member Lalita Surrey, an RTC regular, was moved, for the first time, to send an email to the RTC immediately upon returning home from the show on Saturday night, in which she stated, "I want to thank the RTC for being given the privilege and joy of the highest caliber of entertainment five minutes from my home....What more quality of life could I ask?"
South Pacific continues its run at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden for two more weekends in July. Waiting in the wings is the cast of Steel Magnolias, RTC's August offering. You don't want to miss that one either. Call 718-850- 2450 for reservations and information.