South Pacific
April 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 2005

Click to see show poster.
Ensign Nellie ForbushRebecca Pieper
Emile de BecqueCraig Daniels
NganaJulianna Squerrini
JeromeAlec Lafavore
HenryPhil Markley
Bloody MarySonia Aviles
LiatEva Wasko
Luther BillisGene Connelly
Stewpot/EnsemblePaul C. Bonnici
Professor/EnsembleScott Fleissner
Lt. Joseph CableBrad Zuercher
Capt. George BrackettRalph Schwalm
Cmdr. William HarbisonAl Squerrini
Lt. Buzz Adams/EnsembleJohn Barnes
Yeoman Herbert Quale/EnsembleJonathan Ploucha
Radio Operator Bob McCaffry/EnsembleJason Roberts
Ensign Dinah Murphy/EnsembleRebecca Knappenberger
Ensign Janet MacGregor/EnsembleKristen Johnson
Sailors, Seabees and Marines
Sailor Tom O'BrienNick Pacifico
Seebee Morton Wise/Shore PatrolmanJohn Monahan
Marine Kenneth JohnsonPhil Markley
Marine Hamilton SteevesDoug Fleissner
Sailor James HayesJosh Gulotta
Ensigns (Nurses)
Ensign Sue YeagerCourtney Cook
Ensign Cora MacRaeAmanda Trollinger
Ensign Pamela WhitmoreKirsten Mikkelsen
Ensign Lisa MinelliJennifer Dorn
Ensign Rita AdamsKelly Mamrack
Production Staff
DirectorClair M. Freeman
Music DirectorPam Knappenberger
ChoreographerSamantha Bushspice
Stage ManagerNancy Mikkelsen
Asst. Stage ManagerBrian McDermott
Lighting DesignerKT Cort
CostumerNancy Mikkelsen
Military Consultant to the DirectorJohn Bracali

Cast Photos
Click on any image for a larger version, if available.


From The Morning Call -- April 6, 2005

Pennsylvania Playhouse's 'South Pacific' a worthwhile trip back in time

Special to The Morning Call

Weather may have made the real South Pacific a place to avoid. Fortunately, that is not true about the musical now running at Pennsylvania Playhouse.

''South Pacific'' by Rodgers and Hammerstein takes place in the Pacific Theater of World War II, where nurse Nellie Forbush (Rebecca Pieper) falls in love with French planter Emile de Becque (Craig Daniels). In a parallel story, Lt. Joseph Cable (Brad Zuercher) falls in love with Liat (Eva Wasko), daughter of native trader Bloody Mary (Sonia Aviles). This being a war story, there is a large cast of servicemen and nurses for choruses.

''South Pacific'' is, strangely, both dated and progressive. A few of the love scenes are a bit saccharine, and songs like ''Happy Talk'' and ''I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair'' are products of their time (the show opened on Broadway in 1949).

Yet it has a powerful message against racism, which is the conflict in the love stories. The song ''You've Got to be Carefully Taught'' (referring to prejudice) has lost none of its power. Rodgers and Hammerstein resisted attempts to remove it for the 1958 film version.

The cast at the Playhouse is uniformly good, with particularly fine singing on the ensemble numbers. Pieper plays Forbush realistically, as an insecure but sweet person confused by events and her own emotions. Daniels is magnificent as de Becque, making Forbush's love for a much older man seem natural.

Gene Connelly is wonderfully hammy as the Sgt. Bilko-like Luther Billis. Sonia Aviles plays a modern version of Bloody Mary, making her smart and independent, without sacrificing the ham. Julianna Squerrini and Alec Lafavore are appealing as Emile's children.

This production has a cast of 27, 24 scene changes and is two hours and 45 minutes long, with a short intermission. Thanks to directors Clair Freeman (book) and Pam Knappenberger (music), the pace never lags.

The sets by Pete Sanchez are effectively sparse to facilitate the quick changes. The live musical accompaniment is an interesting combination of Knappenberger on piano and Matt Stein on percussion.

The only criticism might be about a few points where the singing is a bit off, but not nearly enough to stop you from thoroughly enjoying the show. This trip to the Pacific is well worth taking.

''South Pacific,'' 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, through April 17, Pennsylvania Playhouse, Illick's Mill Road, Bethlehem. Tickets: $18; $15, seniors and children under 19 on Friday and Sunday. 610-865-6665, .

Dave Howell is a freelance writer.

Jodi Duckett,

Arts and Entertainment Editor



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