SOUTH PACIFIC IS TOTAL ENTERTAINMENT
From the moment that the Twenty Five-piece Orchestra starts to play the score of South Pacific
you are ready for a boat ride to Pacific Ocean breezes. Palm trees sway and sailors cavort around half dressed (shirts off) as they sing, dance and do acrobatics “There Is Nothing Like A Dame” they sing. What fun!
Some may think that nothing could match up to the original that starred Mary Martin. I would say that this sweeping rendition is even better than the original.
I saw Mary Martin in the Original. The two stars in this fresh new production, Carmen Cusack and Rod Gilfry have added a new emotional level to the love story. They really do seem to be in love.
The sets in this revival are even better than the Original (which looked cheap and tacky). Swaying Palm Trees, beautiful lighting and a handsome talented cast make this South Pacific
an endless treat. Care to take a Boat to BALI HA’I?
Anderson Davis who plays Lt. Joseph Cable of the United States Marine Corp. is just perfect as the wide-eyed kid who thinks he is immortal. He falls in love with an Island girl. Every girl in the audience was swooning as he sang the wonderful “Younger Than Springtime.” Davis has an awesome voice.
Keala Settle (Bloody Mary) the very vocal and sharp-tongued Island woman makes a living by selling this and that to the Men on the base. They call her ‘Bloody Mary’ cause she seems to also sell shrunken heads and is trying to get an American man to Marry her daughter. Settle sings a sublime Bali Ha’I. And, she is bound to blurt out anything like: “Hey Lieutenant, you damn good looking sexy man!”
The show is a revelation in what can be done with these old musical War Horses. With a little imagination they have reinvented and made a new masterpiece. The cast is Brilliant.
You will have a hilarious time watching Matthew Saldivar as Sailor Luther Billis. Every moment that he is on stage is just exciting fun. He’s twisty cool!
Rod Gilfry (Emile de Becque) who owns an Island Plantation is a French man who is looking for love and when he and Carmen Cusack sing together on “Some Enchanted Evening” – well, it just doesn’t get anymore moving & emotional than this. They of course, fall in love. Hey, it was a balmy night.
There of course is much more. There are cute kids, wonderful dancing, singing and Gruff speaking Army and Navy men. And, oh yes, Marines too.
remains one of the greatest Musicals to this day. With songs written by Rodgers and Hammerstein – how can it not be great? You’ll be humming as you leave, I guarantee! I don’t see how anyone who sees this musical would not be satisfied.
EXTRA: Remember in the old days the Ads for musicals used to scream out STARRING such and such actor or actress. I think it should be brought back.
The lead Actors is THE STARS. And here they are in big HEADLINES: STARRING -- CARMAN CUSACK, ROD GILFRY, KEALA SETTLE, MATTHEW SALDIVAR AND ANDERSON DAVIS.
AT THE GOLDEN GATE THEATRE
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating). –trademarked-
(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))
Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. Courtesy photo.
DAME CLEO LAINE AND SIR JOHN DANKWORTH -- AS TIMELY AS TIMELESS
O.K. HERE’S THE DEAL. LAINE AND DANKWORTH ARE ROYALTY. Not just because they are English, but because they have the best darn act you’re bound to see.
For two people who are really up in years – you would never know it. They are not just great together, but they are cute. Dankworth reminds of the old guy who owned the Department store in the TV series “Are You Being Served”. You almost expect him to say at any minute – “You’ve all done very well!”
Laine, who looks like an older version of Elizabeth Taylor (she is wearing a similar two piece dress that looks like one Liz wore -- all glittery). It becomes her. And when you look at her from a profile – she still has that great bone structure. No, I have not forgot the talent. And there is lots of it. First of all – Laine has not lost her voice. It is still in the range of pop and opera. There isn’t a note that has been written that she can’t master.
I absolutely loved the Johnny Mercer songs – ‘Skylark’ was marvelous. “When the World Was Young” is wistful as we listen, we begin to think back of our young years and how fast they have gone. Also I was mesmerized by “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” What a Gem. “Peel Me A Grape” was seductive. It’s written to be that way. However, Laine is just steaming in this one. Who needs Viagra – just buy her CD and listen to Grape. Boingg! Of course seeing her in person is the best.
At the beginning of the show Dankworth is still the master of the Sax and the Reeds. He was flawless as he put out rich music that only a seasoned master could do. He knows when to accelerate and when to make it low. He and the band gave us “Jack the Bear”, “Tonight I Shall Sleep” nice and mellow Tone. On the Trombone was the fantastic Ed Neumeister. Wowee – he made that instrument talk. It actually sounded like a voice coming out of there. On the Piano was Larry Dunlap with his flying fingers. Stuart McCain on the Base. Dankworth said too him - “You’re Scotch aren’t you? From the Highland of Petaluma, isn’t it?” Anyway the Scotch man caressed that Bass like nothing I have ever seen and heard. Terrific! Jim Zimmerman rounded out the band on the Drums. Excellent!
At the end of the show – Dame Cleo says – “Thank you very much for listening to this entire rubbish.” Rubbish indeed! They should make her Queen Cleo. She is just luminous and amazing. Dankworth is still a musical heavyweight. Together – they are operation fabulous!
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-
AT THE RRAZZ ROOM
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