Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan
Directed and Choreographed by Donald Rupe
Musical Direction Jason Bailey
Starring Ali Thibodeau, David Lowe, and Daniel Longacre
Central Florida Community Arts
Presented at the Central Christian Church, Orlando FL</strong>
War may be hell, but it’s a great vehicle for a tragic love story. Somewhere down in French Polynesia we find an
island full of Seabee’s and nurses, all bored to tears because those dirty Japs won’t get in range. There’s plenty of time for romance and wonderful duets as well as an early civil rights lesson. Ensign Nellie (Thibodeau) falls for mysterious Frenchman Emile (Lowe) while gung-ho Lt Cable (Longacre) hooks up with seemingly underage daughter of local hustler Bloody Mary (Monica Rae Andrews). Seaman Lower Class Luther Billis (Adam Delmedico) is the American hustler; he wants to get to mysterious island of Bali Hai for the topless native floor show. What could go wrong? Easy. Emile’s first wife wasn’t lily white, and Nellie doesn’t want to be…soiled. Not that way, anyway. With this gold-tinted romance off the table, simpler questions must be answered: Will those Japs get up here so we can kill them? Can anyone find love that’s socially acceptable back in Jim Crow America? And most critically: Can these church seats be any harder to sit on?
When this cast sings it’s a glimpse of heaven, when they are acting the view is slightly lower. Both Mr. Lowe and Ms. Thibodeau can belt with the best: “Some Enchanted Evening” is a refrain they both sang and nearly stopped the show. Andrew’s Bloody Mary is a combination of pathos and capitalism; her solo “Happy Talk” gave her a heart she hadn’t shown earlier; and she and Billis and Cable made “Bali Ha’i” sublime. You’ll hear more than a few other classics here, and you will love them all. As to the speaking parts, the principles stayed believable although some of the minor characters were over the top and there was a great deal of tromping around during scene changes. The show featured nearly two dozen musicians and a follow spot. While this may be a Community Theater they’ve got significant resources and boldly used the space and put the cast in the audience’s lap. While there were a few bumps here and grinds there this was a high quality production that looked and sounded much better than most “community” productions. I just recommend bringing a stadium cushion; these are the sort of church chairs that punish you for sins you haven’t gotten around to committing yet.
For more information on Central Florida Community Arts please visit http://cfcarts.com/</em>