Tonight I attended the West Shore Community College production of South Pacific. It is also the final play directed there by Rick Plummer, in his role as a professor. And what a grand finale!
It was creatively staged, with the orchestra in the center, on stage. Around the edges were small areas of scenery and settings where actors created ambiance while not, literally, "in the spotlight."
The weakest area of local productions is usually the music. Not this time. Quality musicians from across West Michigan came together to fill out the orchestra. They were seriously good. Like the Broadway musical recording good.
Here you can see the orchestra surrounded by cast members. The posters advertised this as South Pacific in Concert, and I think that's because the emphasis was on the music rather than creating a realistic set. Actually, Hollywood tried to be realistic with the original movie, and it looks pretty silly by today's standards. Like many early musicals, the plot is thin, but plots were always secondary to the music.
Emil and Nellie soliloquize about what life could be like together on this South Sea island. The only thing distracting about the show was the use of stand mics. I got used to it, but it seemed odd in this day and age of those nearly invisible mics actors can wear.
Of course, one of the most fun songs is "There is Nothing Like a Dame."
And who doesn't get that sense of longing when Bloody Mary sings "Bali H'ai?"
While Lt. Cable and Emil are gone to another island trying to scout Japanese positions, Nellie organizes a show for the troops. Honey Bun never fails to have everyone in stitches.
They receive news of Cable's death, no one is sure if Emil will make it back.
He does, and is reunited with Nellie.