SHS Musical SOUTH PACIFIC
Romance, Comedy, and Tragedy
in the South Pacific
And the return of the banana
Phenomenal voices made waves in this year’s Sayville High School musical production of South Pacific, the Rogers and Hammerstein adaptation of James A. Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific. While the poignant story spotlights two warfronts in the alluring tropics during World War II, i.e., the stalled war against Japanese forces and the more insidious war against prejudice, the musical sets the stage for blossoming romances amid culture clashes.
And Sayville audiences loved it. Each of the four nights’ performances received standing ovations for a musicality that was no less than professional caliber: from the youngest performers to the fantastic orchestra, and of course, to the amazing High School ensemble—for which key roles were double-cast to showcase Sayville High School’s diverse talent. This year’s production of South Pacific gave audiences a truly enchanted evening.
ACCOLADES FOR THE WONDERFUL PRODUCTION:
With the real hell of war only miles away, the play opens with two angelic children, Ngana and Jerome DeBecque, representing paradise in the South Pacific, who sweetly sing Dites Moi (Tell me).
- The part of Ngana was played by four lovely elementary students with lilting voices: Sara Newman, Ava Walsh, Camryn Quinlan, and Kyla Carte. The role of Jerome DeBecque was alternated between elementary students Evan Powers and Matthew Zender who also were wonderful in their parts.
When naïve Navy nurse Nellie Forbush and French aristocrat Emile DeBecque discover love “one enchanted evening….across a crowded room,” the differences in their backgrounds, life experiences, and ages is a cause for concern, at least for Nellie, who admittedly is “a cockeyed optimist, immature and incurably green.”
- The romantic
lead of Nellie was extraordinarily played by two talented students: Sayville
Junior Meghan Gunther and Sayville Senior Gabrielle Kalomiris: Meghan’s
flawless voice and expression in every musical number were mature and dynamic
as any Broadway performer, but especially when she took center stage for Cockeyed Optimist, I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My
Hair, I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy, and Honeybun. Similarly in the alternate cast, Gabrielle’s
beautiful voice demonstrated exquisite clarity and dramatic qualities in each of the same
numbers, while her tears for the missing Emile in the final scenes brought
commiserating sniffles from the audience.
Also central to the romance, expatriate French plantation owner Emile DeBeque, who has fallen in love with Nellie, is a Middle-aged widower and loving father of two mixed–race children. As the story develops, he becomes key to the U.S. strategies that change the course of the war in the South Pacific.
- Both Sayville Juniors and vocal bases, Alex Sneddon and Tim Costorf imbued their singing and acting parts as Emile with excellent qualities. Alex was grandly heroic and tender; Tim was majestically operatic and lyrical—and the auditorium swelled with such signatures performances of Twin Soliloquies, Some Enchanted Evening, and This Nearly Was Mine, drawing thunderous applause.
For the U.S. forces stationed in the South Pacific theatre, sassy Bloody Mary is an important link to the indigenous peoples who inhabit the Polynesian island. Thanks to her enterprises, she provides grass skirts, shrunken heads, and assorted trinkets as profitable mementoes of their island experience. Yet, she is driven to find Happy Talk for her beautiful daughter, Liat with the eligible and attractive Marine Joe Cable.
- Sayville Seniors Katya Sparwasser and Julia Magnani shared the part of Bloody Mary (as well as one of the Seebees in There isNothing Like A Dame) on alternating nights. Singing Bali Hai and Happy Talk, Katya was mellifluous and memorizing, Julia was spirited and seductive, but each portrayed Bloody Mary with comic spunk, compassion and compelling motivation.
- As Mary’s Tonkinese daughter, Liat, both Savannah Votino and Jillian Brudi deftly portrayed the somewhat nonspeaking character as the perfectly “sweeter-than-music” love interest for Joe Cable.
Lieutenant Joseph Cable is the central, tragic figure in the musical, caught between worlds and ideologies at war.
- Ben Diehl sympathetically portrayed Lt. Cable each night and gave very moving renditions of Younger than Springtime as well as You've Got to Be Carefully Taught, about Cable’s personal conflict with racial prejudice.
To offset the profundity of its war story, the musical South Pacific offers comic relief in the character of Luther Billis.
- In the Sayville production, Luther was in no better hands –and dancing feet—than those of Sayville Senior (and Class of 2014 Valedictorian) Liam Hofmeister who played the part every night. With masterful skill, musical aplomb, and amazing dexterity, Liam absolutely embodied Luther, the restless sailor, entrepreneur, and leader of Seabees, as well as demonstrated Luther's soft side for Nellie. Whether lamenting the absence of available women in There’s Nothing Like a Dame, tempting Lt. Cable with a reprise of Bali Hai, or performing alongside ‘Sailor’ Nellie as the unforgettable, uninhibited, and quite limber Honeybun (dressed in mop-top wig, swishing grass skirt, and coconut-shell bra), the character of Luther, as Liam portrayed him, was a pleasant balance of high jinx and sentimentality.
While so many players may have had background and backstage roles in the musical, each played their supportive part in big ways!
Deserving tremendous praise for their hilariously entertaining contributions especially in the musical numbers of Bloody Mary and There’s Nothing Like a Dame were Luther’s singing and dancing back-up comedy team, comprised of Seabees, Sailors and Marines. Their supportive antics downstage did not go unnoticed and unappreciated. Neither did the returning sight gag of the banana that has made its appearance in Saturday performances since 2008:
- Richard West (Jamie Baio), George “Stewpot” Watts (Liam Haber), James “Professor” Hayes (Jake Vail), Corporal Hamilton Steeves (Sean McNally), Morton Wise (Dylan Finder), and Lt. Buzz Adams (Cortof/Sneddon)
Similarly, the roles of Captain George Brackett (Sean Valazquez) and Commander William Harrison (Brian Walsh) were realistic portrayals of mature and caring officers in a serious war effort.
Ensign Nellie Forbush was not without back up in her musical numbers, thanks to the immense support of singers and dancers:
- Lt. Genevieve Marshall (Rowen Mahoney/Meghan Marshall), Ensign Cora MacRae (Jessica Leigh-Manuell/Jaclyn Parceluzzi), Ensign Connie Walewska (Eileen Monahan/Alyssa Lofaro), Ensign Pamela Whitmore (Jillian Dymek/Clare O’Connor), Ensign Jane MacGregor (Gena Mizzi, Jordyn Grimes), Ensign Dinah Murphy (Mary Nichols, Gabby Giovan), along with featured dancers Taylor Marshall, Eileen Monahan, Jackie Roppelt, Kayla Savino, and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy singers Jillian Brudi, Jillian Dymeck, Eileen Monahan, Meghan Marshall, Mary Nichols, Savannah Votino, and Chorus Nurses Meghan LaBelle, Emily Llwellyn, Dara Scolnick, Angelina Keller, Emily Osterloh, Payton Yancey, Jillian Brudi, Katya Sparwasser, Julia Magnani, Savannah Votino and Alluring Bali Hai Girls Jordyn Grimes Angelina Keller Emily Llewellyn Jaclyn Parcelluzzi, and Alyssa Lofaro
Of course, no show would go on without its behind-the-scenes movers and shakers. Congratulations to the following:
- Stage Director/Producer/Lightning Supervisor Mr. Steven Hailey,
- Musical Director Ms. Karen DiMartino,
- Orchestra Conductor Mr. Ari Kramer,
- Accompanist Mr. Jeff Hoffman,
- Choreographer Ms. Penny Hough,
- Technical Supervisor Ken VanEssendelft,
- Sound Supervisor Andy Giammalvo,
- Stage Mangers Emily Nowlan and Angela Vetere,
- Assistant Stage Mangers Rebecca Mohrmann and Elizabeth Gouvis - also Scenic Design/Paint Manager,
- Construction Mangers Andrew Cameron and Dan Forsberg,
- Lighting Manger J.D. Verbeck,
- Lighting Jake Hoeg and Dillon Esposito-Kelley,
- Spot Operators Autumn Dushnik and Mary Elizabeth Wissman
- Sound technicians Robert Danzi, Alex Truglio, Joseph Panzarino
- Costume Emily Nowlan and Julia Cameron,
- Properties Master Julie Cameron,
- HS Scenery Crew Meghan Fawcett, Jon Litter, Gena Mizzi, Sarah Sherard;
- MS Apprentices: Carly Bishop, Hannah Bishop, Nicholas Cameron, Autumn Dushnick, Caitlin Fawcett, Karlee Ibanez, Mackenzie Leddy, Nedem Malik, Kiera Mizzi, Nadia Yajadda
VIOLIN I: Jason Champlin, Shannon Haselton; VIOLIN II: Bridget Pitre, Megan McElroy, Brianna D’Amico, Emily Perun; CELLO: Alyssa Schiarrino; BASS: Matthew McGrath; FLUTE: Caroline Greco, Marade Bergen; OBOE: Heather Leahy; CLARINET: Emily Faughnan, Jessica Klassert; BASS CLARINET: Aaron Fisher; TRUMPET: Angie Perrone, Tara Rini, Tyler Powers; TROMBONE: Tom Reilly, Liam Harrison; SAXOPHONE: Eddie Burke, Amanda Minutello, Francis Reilly; TUBA: Sean Lorthioir; HARP: Anthony Vetere; PERCUSSION: William Potts, Jared Bergen; KEYBOARD: Mr. Jeff Hoffman
This production of South Pacific was dedicated to "Monte"
Since 1978, the casts of Sayville High School's annual spring musicals have enjoyed the services of Albert "Monte" Montesi when it came to hair, wigs, beards, and heart-felt encouragement. Whether h was showing Eliza Doolittle how to wear a snood, or brushing out fifteen blonde, curly wigs for the Zangler girls or carefully affixing facial hair to Russian peasants, he was friendly, encouraging, and a consummate professional. His passing this lastNovember had touched all who knew and worked with him, and it is for this that we dedicate this year's performance to his memory and to his wife Pat who was always at his side.
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