Posts Tagged ‘South Pacific’

A Buckeye In Wolverine Land

On to another great post!  Thursday afternoon was my first voice lesson in about two and a half years.  I am pleased to say I am very ecstatic about the next coming months!  We began with a review (for me) about breathing, support, the diaphragm, the mask, and other technical terms that we quickly glossed over.  Then, we determined that I have an octave and a half range with the same above that in falsetto which totally surprised the both of us.  Then, it was time to get down to business… FUN TIMES!

I decided that “Younger Than Springtime” would be good to warm up on.  It would have been if the copy I had was complete.  We got to the last page an discovered that there is something missing.  So I dig and find the book with the song… only to discover that it was in a lower key!  But manageable… only slightly lower.  But I prefer the higher range.  I like to shoot for my POWer notes, but those would come later.

Next, I dug out “This is the Moment.”  Kathrine is unfamiliar with Jekyll and Hyde?!  Blasphemy!  Just don’t listen to the Hoff’s version.  Then, we went to “If I Can’t Love Her” from the stage version of Beauty and the Beast.  The big ballad which closes Act I.  The only suggestion she had for both pieces is to find the soft moments in both pieces.  They are both powerful songs but powerful is not always meant for volume..   Build up to the big moment!  Then you will have them eating out of your hand.  Sounds like homework.  But she said that with a slight polishing they are already prime for performance.  I wanted to do the Beast’s number previously; however, the gig I wanted to sing it for was limited to musicals of the past decade.  So, I sang “Under the Sea.”

It is a good thing I was introduced to Miss Saigon earlier in the week via youtube.  My new coach had me read (sight reading… YUCK!) two duets from the show with her.  Not the character driven pieces I had hoped for but those will come in time.  It has been advised that I check out both the Engineer and Thuy (although Vietnamese I am not but…).  Kathrine mentioned that we should sign up for one of the weekend gigs starting up again in the fall.  I am totally against that idea 😉  HAHAHAHA!  Just need to get some more cool character pieces in with the big dramatic ones.  Several I can think of easily…. maybe go dig an old fossil of 18 years ago.  Go in there and blow everyone’s minds.  Of course, provided that anyone would actually come and see me?!  I’m sure I could get at least 3 people there… and that is a crowd.

Who knows what the next few months will bring?  I just know that the next musical on a nearby stage is not my cup of tea.

I better stop with those two songs.  When I do perform, I don’t want to spoil it all for those three in the audience 😉  Two big, powerful ballads now for a few duets and at least three character pieces.

As I was pulling out my checkbook, my new coach sneered at the picture of the Script Ohio on my first check.  “Since it is money, I guess I can accept it.”  Oh, we’re going to get along REALLY well. At least she is not a BoSox fan… I hope.

Something Was Missing

Adaptations from original sources always leave things on the “cutting room floor.”  I just read a very fascinating article about the transformation of South Pacific (click the link to the article) from a James Michener novel to the original Broadway production to the classic movie to the current revival on the Great White Way and touring around the country.  More historical background from the first performances of the ground-breaking, Pulitzer prize winning classic came to light.

  • On April 17, 1949,  ten days after the show’s opening, a boat carrying 120 American casualties of war arrived in Honolulu.  Casualties of the Theatre in the Pacific.
  • There was a lot more that Rodgers and Hammerstein wanted in the show dealing with race relations.  “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” was just the tip of the iceberg.  The central story of Emille de Becque somehow made it into the show.  But there was a lot more.
  • Like many musicals turned movies, many things were dramatically altered from the original.  The director of the 7 Tony Award winning revival, Bartlett Sher, called the 1958 cinematic effort “no use” when developing the return to the stage. Which just adds to my belief that most of the time, somethings are better left ON stage.  Beautiful to look at, perhaps, but with a loss to its central meaning.

How fitting that I came across the article as we stop to reflect on the millions who have made the ultimate sacrifice in preserving the freedoms we all sometimes take for granted.  Hopefully, one day, the revival of this musical masterpiece makes it way to our neck of the woods.  Or… better yet… just another great show with a scene-stealing character role or a central male lead I wouldn’t mind tackling.

Christmas Wishes

Over the past few weeks, I have been blessed to become re-acquainted with someone who used to teach at the local elementary school.  She has since moved to North Carolina.  She started commenting on my blog during the worst couple of weeks I have had in my 35 years when Emily became seriously ill and lost her battle with leukemia.  I helped Terri and Emily direct the high school’s production of Bye, Bye Birdie a few years ago.  I am extremely sad to say that the theatrical tradition that was once so strong at my alma mater has disappeared.  Growing up I remember watching great musicals performed on the gymnasium stage.  The first being The Wizard of Oz in 1977.  I was introduced to my favorite musical, Carousel, in the early 80s, as well as Finian’s Rainbow, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (which justj‘s daughter will be part of in her high school’s production next Spring).  I also watched both of my brothers on stage.  THEN, I guess I made my mark in Fiddler on the Roof, I Remember Mama, and (finally) as Rooster in Annie.  I also helped stage The Sound of Music, South Pacific, and the aforementioned Birdie.  Do any of my faithful readers have any memories of school musical productions they would like to share?

Terri recently sent this holiday greeting which features my favorite version of my favorite carol set to a beautiful scene which signifies the true meaning of the season.

This will be our final song to you before Christmas, which truly symbolizes our belief of the true meaning of Christmas.

The miracle of that evening will always be depicted during the Christmas season…I particularly enjoyed this movie clip because it shows two parents

who were experiencing pain and fear…yet were in awe of what followed……


Thanksgiving… Round One

Let’s see… I got up around 8.30 for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and to bring the long table and chairs down to set up.  That is my job, set the table and chairs up… kind of easy… get it done and over with (then again, I have to haul them up later).  Parade time:  floats, large helium balloons (including the new Smurf balloon), marching bands (including a band made up of senior citizens… kind of neat).  But my favorite part as always (big surprise, right)… the casts of Broadway shows performing songs.  Featured this year, last year’s big Tony winner, In the Heights; the revival of South Pacific (another possible musical I have been considering bringing to the committee’s attention); a new stage production of Irving Berlin’s immortal White Christmas; The Little Mermaid; and the coming revival of Hair.

Around 10 o’clock the family started gathering.  One little one was sick (having 7 children at a gathering, isn’t it usual to have one down).  At 11.45, the chronically late members of the family showed up.  I was surprised because if anything they are usually 15 minutes late.  Those members you need to tell that dinner starts a half hour before it actually does.  Chad entered and had hair down the front of his pants.  I asked where the hair came from.  His response led to my response of “That’s what SHE said.”  A case of inneuendosis.

So the feast was delcious as always.  Turkey, ham, delicious dressing, masked potatoes, noodles, pie, pie, pie (apple, cheery, pumpkin and more on the way tonight).  The only problem being the dead phone line.  It sounds like there is a phone off the hook or the person who called last did not hang up.  So I could not call to wish Happy Thanksgiving to friends.

Hungry As The Wolf Felt When He Met Red-Riding Hood

In 1949, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II brought to the Broadway stage what would be their third musical blockbuster, South Pacific.It tells the tale of Ensign Nellie Forbush, a “Cockeyed Optimist”-ic Naval nurse from Little Rock, stationed on a remote Pacific island, who falls in love with a worldly French planter. This type of interacial pairing was extremely controversial for a show in the 1940s. Even more so was the introduction of Emile de Becque’s two Polynesian children. After learning of the children, Nellie vows to “Wash that Man Right Out of Her Hair.”

A secondary plot revolves around the romance between Lt. Joseph Cable and a mute Polynesian native. The plots are brought together when de Becque and Cable are called upon to go on a dangerous mission which leads to tragedy.

The theme of racial prejudice is explored throughout the show and no more so than in the song “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught.” Because of its biting commentary on prejudice, Rodgers and Hammerstein were encouraged to take the song out of the show to which they both responded that there would be no show without it.

South Pacific opened at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway April 7, 1949 (40 years ago, today) and had a run of 1,925 performances. It was the recipient of 9 Tony Awards (including all 4 of the major acting trophies). It also received the prestigious 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (one of only 7 musicals to have done so). Most of the songs have become standards: “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Younger than Springtime,” “Bali Hai,” and “There is Nothing like a Dame” (a rousing chorus number led by the great character Luthor Billis and his chorus of Seabees).The movie was released in theatres in 1958 as well as a televised version in 2001 starring an out-of-place Glenn Close who is much too old to play a young, naiive Naval nurse. Ironically, it is the only major Rodgers and Hammerstein show to have never been revived on Broadway until it recently opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.

ADDENDUM: Any errors in mathmatics are solely the responsibility of the blogger. He takes full responsibiity for his ignorance and hopes that his brilliance does not become the topic for a post on another site. Unless it is by his own doing.