US artists, NMU to present musical
Young artists from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, will collaborate with singers from Nelson Mandela University to create an evening of entertainment from the golden age of musicals from Thursday to Sunday June 20 to 23 at the Savoy Theatre.
The two groups will perform Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic production, South Pacific.
Set in the South Pacific Islands near the end of World War 2, the show was chosen for its historical, educational and social lessons at a time of great world stress and commitment.
The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score, is considered one of the greatest Broadway musicals and the only musical production to have won all four Tony Awards for acting.
It tells the story of an American nurse, Ensign Nellie Forbush, stationed at a US Naval base on a French island in the South Pacific during the war.
She falls in love with an expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children and his past relationship with his now deceased Polynesian wife.
A second romance concerns a US Marine lieutenant who falls in love with a Polynesian girl.
The issues of racial prejudice and intermarriage are candidly explored through the musical, which was first performed in 1949.
The collaborative efforts between Southern Methodist University (SMU) and NMU began in 2001, when professor Barbara Hill Moore came to Port Elizabeth to identify an exceptional singer wishing to study in the US through her colleague, Lionel van Zyl.
Hill Moore worked with Lucretia Geswindt Sikwebu, a student of Van Zyl’s, and, in 2002, offered Sikwebu a full bursary for two years of study in Dallas.
Hill Moore has worked with singers and faculties throughout SA, and arranged full bursaries for scores of SA singers.
In 2005, she brought 22 singers to SA for a collaborative concert version of Porgy and Bess.
In May 2018, she brought 35 singers, dancers and instrumentalists from the US and SA to stage the opera Wading Home.
South Pacific is directed by Roger Riggle from Washington DC, with stage management led by the SMU’s Chanda Price and Savoy Theatre technicians.
The company includes 30 singers and dancers.
Hill Moore will produce the show and conduct a five-piece instrumental ensemble.
South Pacific will be staged with a double cast at 7.30pm on Thursday and Friday, and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday.
● Entry is free but tickets must be booked through Rose Cowpar on 072-906-1977 or firstname.lastname@example.org