Iím in Love with a Wonderful Show! Gushy, Gritty, Romantic Rendered-with-love SOUTH PACIFIC an Enchanted Evening!Published: Saturday, October 4, 2014 By: John F. Bailey Source: WPCNR FOURTH ROW CENTER.
First there’s the lilt of the score as the overture begins, then those familiar strains of Some Enchanted Evening, Wonderful Guy, Bloody Mary, Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair, (you’ll know ‘em, Mack) as the lights go up on a idyllic terrace overlooking the Pacific, and you’re transported into another time, world and mindset – the South Pacific islands at the height of World War II at the land of make believe, Westchester Broadway Theatre. The revival of the Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rogers is an enchanted evening.
The enchantment starts when the two children of Emile de Becque go through lessons (Isabella D’Erasmo and Kaleigh Picco alternate as Ngana, and Kyle Arzaga and Daniel Ward as Jerome) on a terrace set for tea, dueting cutely on Dites Moi– one of the great grab-the-heart-at-the-get-go openings.
South Pacific is all about the heart, how its longings take you over; how the wishes are fulfilled; how they are dashed, and the triumph of the heart related through characters remarkably believable with Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan book that moves right along to plot-sensitive, action-consistent songs—one Broadway classic belt after another.
Nurse Nellie Forbush (Hailey Swindel, previously seen here in Nine) coyly finds herself attracted to the dashing older man, and sings I’m a Cocked Optimist. DeBecque (crafted perfectly by baritone suave by George Dvosky, who created the title role in The Scarlet Pimpernel on Broadway) lifts your heart and makes Nellie’s beat faster with a splendid Some Enchanted Evening. (Come on, you remember the words) In minutes, you care about these characters from two different worlds, as Nellie fights her reluctance to fit into a marriage where she will have to be step-mother to two Asian children from de Becque’s first marriage. He invites Nellie to a party to introduce her to the island, the romance is heady but Nellie is not sure.
Then we go to the navy base where the sailors, Seabees and Marines working the port, get a visit from one of two scene stealers, Bloody Mary played with comic timing somewhat and dated Pidgin English by Joanne Javien, who tries to make a Yankee Dollar by selling souveneirs to the bored sailors. Why are they bored? They ain’t got Dames, as the rollicking crew rouses all with There’s Nothing Like a Dame.
Javien wraps up that seen with an exotic ode to Bali Ha’I the special island. javien who is more attractive than most actresses I have seen play Bloody Mary,makes the mystery of Bali Ha’i come through with lilting, lush, broads sweeps of her voice. Really she takes one of the weaker songs in the score and because of the power of her voice, makes it into a promise that keeps.
But wait, there’s a war on, and the Navy is trying to get into