Sensational sell-out season for NHSPA’s South Pacific

NEWTOWN: A sell-out season of the Pultizer Prize-winning musical South Pacific staged by Newtown High School of the Performing Arts (NHSPA) in late March highlighted timely issues of war, the fear of difference, and the need for understanding and tolerance. It also showcased the significant musical, drama and dance talents of NHSPA students selected from Year 8 to Year 12.

The nurses at the naval base encourage Nellie Forbush (offstage) “to wash that man right out of her hair” (Magnolia Minton-Sparke)

Director Judith Hoddinott said the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, based on James Michener’s book Tales of the South Pacific, traced the love stories of two couples. “Life is seen as fleeting and fragile. There is no time to lose. Love must be embraced.” She also said the song, “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” showed that people must be strong in their love for humanity – accepting others rather than fearing them.

The talented cast, orchestra, music staff, technical crew, P&C and other contributors worked hard to ensure the show’s sensational success, said musical director Emlyn Lewis-Jones.

The leads Nellie Forbush (played by Allegra Monk), Emile De Beque (Gabriel Burke), Luther Billis (Spencer Clark) Joseph Cable (Angus Noakes) and Bloody Mary (Lucy Lock) deserved special mention for their stellar performances, as did student choreographer (Natasha Dumlao, who also played Liat), assistant director (Claudia Catalanotto), and assistant musical director (Neil Baker) for their outstanding creativity and commitment. David Ferguson’s spectacular lighting also helped evoke the mysterious tropical atmosphere.

“It’s been a fabulous learning experience for the students and we’ve received rave reviews,” Mr Lewis-Jones said. “We’re really proud to have produced such great theatre and exceeded our other goals.”

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