Set Sail for the South Pacific


South Pacific Marjorie Steele
Majorie Steele, member of the local Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, shows off vintage Red Cross uniforms and supplies used during World War II, the era in which “South Pacific” takes place.

Set sail for the South Pacific with the Grand Rapids Civic Theater from February 27 through March 22.  An amazing cast will take you to the other side of the world and back in time to World War II. This iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical tells two honest love stories from a different era where prejudice often complicated romance.

The first of these romances is Nellie’s, a lively nurse from Arkansas. Upon arriving in the South Pacific, she is quickly swept up in a romance with Emile who is a local plantation owner. When Nellie learns of his romantic past with another local, she refuses his proposal.

Lieutenant Joe Cable’s story is the second. His love affair with Liat, the young daughter of Bloody Mary who is a local grass skirt peddler, leaves him struggling with his prejudices and fears of social consequences.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s play, South Pacific was based on James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Tales of the South Pacific. They believed that their musical adaptation could be financially successful and would also send a strong, open-minded message on the prejudices that were prevalent in the 1940’s.

In addition to the social message of South Pacific, there are the wonderful songs that are still sung today. “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair” and “Some Enchanted Evening” are two of the musical’s hits that have been sung for generations.

Civic Theater has partnered with the Red Cross for this production of South Pacific. The Red Cross had a strong presence in World War II when volunteers soared from 17,000 to 7.5 million. Volunteers supported service men and women by donating blood and also serving alongside the military in the South Pacific. The Red Cross has organized a letter writing campaign that will take place during the performance. Audience members can write a note of thanks to veterans who are returning home.

Come escape this Michigan winter and see South Pacific at Grand Rapids Civic Theater. Show times are 7:30 PM Wednesday through Saturday with a 2 PM matinee performance on Sunday.