By George Spelvin

Fairmont State’s School of Fine Arts and Town & Gown Theatre presented a solid performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s SOUTH PACIFIC at Prickett’s Fort State Park Amphitheatre.  The rather large cast included FSU faculty, Town & Gown old hands and newcomers.

SOUTH PACIFIC is based on James A. Michner’s TALES FROM THE SOUTH PACIFIC, and in musical format, addresses issues of war, love, prejudice and bravery. Director, Jeffrey H. Ingman has streamlined the story and guides the cast through a sensitive and moving telling of this tale.

Town & Gown veterans, John O’Connor as Emile De Becque, Christie Brooks as Bloody Mary, Shawn Dunn as Capt. George Brackett, James Matthews as Commander William Harbison and Troy Snyder as Luther Billis performed main and featured characters as one would expect from experienced actors.  Also cast were newcomers Leigh Anne Bolyard as Ensign Nellie Forbush and Zach Rowe as Lt. Joseph Cable.

Ms. Bolyard has appeared in past Town & Gown productions, but not with such an important role. She proved herself capable of the challenge with a beautiful singing voice and believable acting as her character faces her prejudices, war duties and love for the French expatriate Emile de Becque.  Zach Rowe, in his first Town & Gown production, is equally believable as Lt. Cable who falls in love with Liat, a young native girl played by Madison Whiting, and brings a strong vocal performance as well.

FSU faculty member, Troy Snyder as the intensely entrepreneurial Luther Billis is memorable leading the cast in “There is Nothing Like a Dame” and as Honey Bun in the song by the same name during the Thanksgiving Day performance staged by the nurses and sailors.  Speaking of the nurses and sailors, they provide solid back up to the featured performers in songs like “Bloody Mary” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair.” Also memorable are performances of SOUTH PACIFIC classic songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” sung by John O’Connor and “Bali Ha’i” sung by Christie Brooks.

The bare Prickett’s Fort Amphitheatre is transformed into a tropical island in the Pacific by Set, Sound and Lighting Designer Greg Griffin.  John Morrison as Musical Director conducts the cast and live orchestra.

This moving production is dedicated to the U.S. Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces.  Equally moving, if not more so, as the curtain call is halted and the men and women, current and past, who have served our country are asked to stand, be recognized and receive the well deserved appreciation from the cast and other audience members.

There are additional performances of SOUTH PACIFIC on July 12, 13 and 14.  Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at (304) 367-4240.

FSUNow Stories

Monday, April 06, 2015

In this age of information, the reality of current events is distilled through numerous filters – social media, cable news, print and more. Sometimes the twisting of details creates societal paranoia. “Far Away,a poetic play by Caryl Churchill follows the life of Joan, a young woman who witnesses atrocities and is determined to make a difference.  

Read more
Monday, April 06, 2015

Sponsored by the United Way of Marion County, an event on Sunday, April 19, will support the Sobrania Soup Opera, Mannington Food Pantry and the Salvation Army, providing needed nourishment for county residents. Empty Bowls Marion County also feeds the creative spirit of local potters.

Read more
Friday, March 27, 2015

The Fairmont State University Department of Music will present a benefit dinner recital at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 9, at Noteworthy Sweets.

“Attendees will dine on a sumptuous feast while being entertained by Fairmont State’s top musicians. This elegant benefit will help support an elaborate production of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ this December, part of the Sesquicentennial celebration of Fairmont State University,” said Dr. Sam Spears, Fairmont State Director of Choirs.

Read more