Cameron University brings “South Pacific” to the stage

The Cameron University Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts continues its 2016-2017 theatre season celebrating “Stages through the Ages” with “South Pacific,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical. The production will be presented in the Cameron University Theatre from April 20-23.  The curtain goes up on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $18 for adults, and $12 for senior citizens, military, Cameron faculty and staff, and non-Cameron students.  CU students receive one free admission with their CU I.D. 

With music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, the book for the musical was written by Hammerstein and director Joshua Logan and is based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book “Tales of the South Pacific.”  The plot centers on an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. A secondary romance, between a U.S. lieutenant and a young Tonkinese woman, explores his fears of the social consequences should he marry his Asian sweetheart. The issue of racial prejudice is candidly explored throughout the musical, most controversially in the lieutenant's song, "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught.” Supporting characters, including a comic petty officer and the Tonkinese girl's mother, help to tie the stories together. Other songs from the musical include “I’m in Love With a Wonderful Guy”; “There Is Nothing Like A Dame”; “Younger Than Springtime,” which went on to become a jazz standard; and “Some Enchanted Evening,” considered to be the single biggest popular hit to come out of any Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.  

Playing the leading roles of Nellie Forbush and Emile De Becque are Joy Christie, Augusta, Ga., and Kevin Slavin, Canonsburg, Pa.  Kelsey Hood, Oklahoma City, will play the role of Bloody Mary, and Lorenzo Butler, Lawton will play the role of Lt. Cable. 

Adding comic relief as the sailors are Samuel Brewer, MacEwan Sanders, Peter Macias, Lawton, along with Cole Nowlin, Anadarko; Kevin Smith, Orange, Calif.; P.M. Williams, Duncan; and Jonathan Banks, Grovetown, Ga.  Playing the commanding officers are Richard Carl Johns, Lawton, and Emily Winkler, Moore. Hector Perez-Aponte, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, plays pilot Buzz Adams. Nurses include Stephanie Sabol, Erica Smith and Spenser Klein, Lawton; Heather Martin and Lilee Shreffler, Cache; Kaitlyn Jones, San Diego, Calif.: Rose Burton Banks, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Haleigh Smith, Walters; and Miranda Fritts, Chattanooga.  Marlon Borges, Ponce, Puerto Rico, and Jaycee Mason, Lawton, play Emile’s children with Hope Gray, Indiahoma, as the daughter of Bloody Mary.  Rounding out the cast as members of the ensemble are Abigail Rinestine, Alex Walcott, Rachel Carlson and Katie Powers of Lawton.

Student designers for the production are Spenser Klein, Lawton, who is designing the props; Stephanie Sabol, Lawton, make-up; and Richard Carl Johns, Lawton, sound. Faculty designers are Associate Professor Eric Abbott, costumes, and Assistant Professor Judd Vermillion, scenery and lights.  Music direction is by Dr. Gregory Hoepfner, with choreography by Katherine Veenhuizen, adjunct instructor.  Jacob Parkhurst, Lawton, is the stage manager.

Cameron’s annual musical theatre productions are supported by the Richard T. Brittingham Musical Theatre Endowed Lectureship.

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April 11, 2017