SOUTH PACIFIC Great Opportunity to See One of America’s Greatest Art Forms

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on July 23, 2013

“I stand here.”

That’s what Ezio Pinza said when director Josh Logan asked him to move about the stage when singing “One Enchanted Evening” in South Pacific. “I stand here” was written in stone for Mr. Pinza. When the reviews came out, all congratulated him on commanding the stage with nary a movement during his song.

The song ends with the lyric “never let her go” and Mary Martin facing upstage, graciously giving Mr. Pinza the focus. At one performance, Miss Mary intuitively knew Mr. Pinza was not going to be able to sing the final word, “go,” so she, with her back to the audience, sang it for him. No one was the wiser. Another legend recounts that Enrico Caruso, the great Italian tenor, his back to the audience as well, sang Colline’s famous coat aria from La Boheme for him.

In Mary Martin’s contract for South Pacific, it stated no duets with her co-star, Metropolitan Opera’s Ezio Pinza. Yes, he sang, and so did Miss Mary, but never at the same time. That has been altered in this production. And what a voice our Pinza — John Boehr — has! He is equally matched with our own Miss Mary — Alicia Kelly.

Our WWII sailors (Ryan Bowie, Ian Erbe, Humberto Figueroa, Greg Frey, Jim Knoll, J. Robert Lindsey, Mickey Rafalski, Patrick Roberts, Richie Sklar and Michael Spaziani) and our nurses (Taylor Galvin, Ashley Harris, Elena Pascullo, Emily Rourke and Mary Nell Wooten) — along with Adriana Light and Bobby Morales, making their Roxy debuts as Ngana and Jerome — all add to the magic which is Bali Ha’i.

South Pacific continues through August 17, playing Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Remember that active-duty military, APSU students and CitySaver coupon holders can purchase two tickets for the price of one to our Wednesday and Thursday performances.

What an opportunity for teachers of music, theatre, history et al. to see, right off the bat, one of America’s greatest art forms. We are responsible for three — the blues, jazz and musical theatre — and this particular Rodgers and Hammerstein classic has so much to say about so many things.

Take, for instance, Hammerstein’s lyrics:

“You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear,
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

After food, shelter and clothing, the arts are the most important things that we have in the pursuit of happiness, for living life to its fullest and its best, things which offer insight into lessons learned. From the ability to read, to gain knowledge from literature, doors of opportunity open, making the first three essentials possible to obtain. It’s godly that charitable groups provide food, shelter and clothing — but the arts and education are godly, too.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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