Guild will take audiences to ‘South Pacific’ in July


Ann Van Grinsven, Special to the Leader

This summer, our stage will be transformed into an island in the Pacific for the classic musical “South Pacific.” Auditions were held May 8-9. The cast of 30 requires actors of all ages. The four lead actors must also be able to sing. If you missed the auditions but want to be a part of this show, please call director Susan Kluge at 715-526-2563 right away. The show runs July 13-16 and July 20-23.

To refresh your memory, here’s a synopsis of “South Pacific.” The musical was written by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein. The plot is based on James Michener’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “Tales of the South Pacific.” The story involves an American nurse, Nellie, who is stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II. She falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed race children. A secondary romance, between a U.S. lieutenant and a young Tonkinese woman, explores his fears of the social consequences should he marry his Asian sweetheart. The issue of racial prejudice is candidly explored throughout the musical.

Enzio Pinza played Emile, and Mary Martin played Nellie in the original production. The show premiered on Broadway in 1949 and ran for 1,925 performances. It won 10 Tony awards, including Best Musical. The revival in 2008 won seven Tonys, including Best Musical Revival. In 1958, a movie was made of “South Pacific” starring Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi. Some of the memorable songs from the show include “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Bali Ha’i,” “Younger Than Springtime,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair” and “There Is Nothing Like a Dame.”

This show will be a treat for the whole family.

A bit of news: Our marquee sign is getting a lift, literally. We are having it raised 2 feet for better visibility and also having a decorative base installed. This project will be done in June.

Our volunteer force seems to be shrinking. Please consider attending one of our Box in the Wood Theatre Guild meetings, which are usually held at 7 p.m. the first Monday of the month. Call me to verify, if you like, at 715-823-6237. We will welcome you!

Ann Van Grinsven is vice president of the Box in the Wood Theatre Guild.