Monday, June 16, 2014
Reagle Music Theatre Presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" - Some Enchanted Evening At The Theatre!
My love affair with Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" began when I was a young boy. Even though my parents had not grown up being exposed to music and the arts, they wanted to ensure that their children had opportunities to experience some culture. We did our grocery shopping at the local First National store, which offered a series of LPs of the original cast recordings of Broadway shows. So, I would often fall asleep listening to Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin singing about an enchanted evening in the South Pacific. This past weekend, Reagle Music Theatre treated their audiences to an enchanted evening in Waltham. This production lives up to Reagle's usual high standards, and includes a wonderful cast singing some of the most beloved snogs in the history of musical theater.
Directed by David Hugo, with Musical Direction by Dan Rodriguez, the cast assembled for this production of "South Pacific" is full of energy and professionalism. From the opening strains of "Dites Moi," they held the audience in rapt attention in the palm of their hands. Eliza Zangerl as Ngana and Jackson Daley as Jerome set just the right tone of winsome innocence as they charmed Ensign Nelly Forbush with their singing. Katie Clark as Nellie is very believable as a naive refugee from "Small Rock" Arkansas, head over heels in love with the debonair French plantation owner, Emile de Becque, played brilliantly by Peter S. Adams. His singing voice is magnificent, and covers a full range of emotions. His rendition of the iconic "Some Enchanted Evening" gave me chills, and his "This Nearly Was Mine" was heart-breaking. Equally impressive was Ms. Clark's version of the ever-popular "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair."
Also worthy of special mention among the principals is the astonishingly talented Lydia Gaston, whose portrayal of Bloody Mary is the best I have ever seen. When she sang "Bali Ha'i," I was so mesmerized I was ready to book a flight to the South Pacific. Her gestures were measured and slow, almost as if she were doing a delicate Tai Chi routine while singing. Her performance alone would be worth the price of admission.
Mark Linehan as Lt. Cable handled his role very well, especially in the lilting "Younger Than Springtime" and the ironic "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught." This song remains one of the reasons for "South Pacific's" place in musical theater history, for it was among the first shows to boldly address racism.
Aaron Dore is wonderfully mischievous and scheming as Luther Billis, and Samantha Ma is lovely as Lt. Cable's love interest, Liat.
The strength of the ensemble is on full display during "There Is Nothin' Like A Dame" and The Thanksgiving Follies.
Part of the success of this production can be attributed to the wonderful scenery by Prather Entertainment Group, the Lighting Design of David Wilson.and the Choreography of Rachel Bertone.
My standards are very high when it comes to this classical piece of music theater, and Reagle Music Theatre managed to exceed those high expectations. I think you will enjoy it, too.
There are only four more opportunities to see this opening show of the 2014 Reagle Season:
This Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2:00. Book your flight to the South Pacific using this link below.
Reagle Music Theater Website