South Pacific

south_pacific_web20 - 23 June 2013
Student Musical

This production sees young artists from the Southern Methodist University (SMU) collaborating with the very talented singers and dancers of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) to create an exciting and fun-filled evening of entertainment from the “Golden Age of Musicals.” Set in the South Pacific Islands close to the end of World War II, the show was chosen for its historical, educational, and social lessons at a time of great world stress and commitment.

South Pacific winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score is considered to be one of the greatest Broadway musicals and is 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 U.S. Naval base during World War II, who falls in love with an expatriate French plantation owner, but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. A second romance concerns a U.S. Marine Lieutenant who falls in love with a young Polynesian woman from the islands. The issues of racial prejudice and intermarriage are candidly explored throughout the musical, which was first performed in April 1949.

The collaborative efforts between SMU and UKZN began in 2000 when Professor Barbara Hill Moore came to work with talented singers and offer a bursary for an exceptional singer wishing to study in America. Since then, she has worked with faculty and singers throughout the country, brought a group of 22 singers to South Africa to mount a collaborative concert version of Porgy and Bess in 2005: she brought a class of eight students from SMU in 2011 to do a production of Bernstein’s West Side Story and this year, yet another exciting collaboration with eleven students from SMU and thirty-seven students of UKZN to present four performances of South Pacific! Professor Hill Moore has given full bursaries to seventeen South African singers to come to America for advanced study since 2000.

Among the singers she has brought to America are Dr. Bronwen Forbay, Lionel Mkhwanazi (presently on the UKZN faculty), Professor Patrick Tikolo, Chair of Voice at UCT, Mhlaba Buthelezi presently teaching on the faculty at Tshwane Technikon University in Pretoria, Dr. Conroy Cupido, Chair of Voice at North-West University Potchefstroom, Christiaan Bester, (receiving the doctorate in Music from the University of North Texas in May 2014), Maria Jooste, Lucretia Geswinnt, Otto Maidi, Phandulwazi Maseti, Selby Hlangu, Thandulwazi Ncube and many others, singing and teaching in South Africa and throughout the world. All are successful, creative and professionally admirable young artists, who are creating, producing and performing professionally in their communities every day.

With a company of 50 singers and dancers, the South Pacific production will be an exhilarating evening. UKZN Professor Jürgen Bräuninger, Head of Music and Professor Lionel Mkhwanazi from the Opera School and Choral Academy are the university hosts of this project. Professor Hill Moore will produce the show and conduct the four piece instrumental ensemble. The Director/Choreographer is Roger Riggle of Washington, DC, who has done the show many times in the past few years. Admission is free but tickets are required and the audience is advised to arrive 60 minutes prior to the performance in order to get on the admission list.

South Pacific will take place with a double cast in four performances at 7:00 pm on the evenings of June 20-22, and on Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm.