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‘South Pacific’ opens at Newport PAC

Posted: Friday, Apr 12th, 2013

“South Pacific” opened last weekend and continues with performances every weekend in April at the Newport Performing Arts Center. Pictured in rehearsal are Stuart Clausen, left, Ron Miller, Rich Hicks and Ernest Ries. (Courtesy photo by Chris Graamans)

It is a rich retelling of American World War II history, capturing the bleakest of days at a U.S. Naval base on a South Pacific island. A blend of multi-ranked military forces, American nurses, an expatriate French plantation owner, and native Pacific Islanders provide a vivid storyline of the war’s toll on humanity. Loneliness, apathy, sorrow, and the longing for a better life set the stage for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s strong social message on racism.

This is a show with a high-energy cast, accomplished music and dancing, exceptional vocals, impressive costumes and set design. It has been a popular favorite since it first opened on Broadway in 1949, enjoying a 2008 Broadway revival, multiple tours, and a 1958 film. Yet, it remains one of the most difficult shows to produce, due to the large cast, frequent scene changes, vocal demands, and length of the script. Few community theater groups choose to take on such a project, but Red Octopus Theatre has accomplished a winning combination with Bo Harrington directing, Brad Capshaw and Akia Woods directing the music and vocals, respectively. The overall production team reads like a cast of seasoned stage veterans. There was also a costume grant provided specifically by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

For the complete article see the 04-12-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-12-2013 paper.

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