In 2014 Lakeshore Productions, Inc. tackled the epic musical romance South Pacific, which centers on a group of American sailors and Navy nurses stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. Its theme of racial and romantic tolerance created a stir back in the 1950s, but the show became wildly popular as it went on national tour. South Pacific opened on Broadway in 1949, and it became a hit movie in 1958.
South Pacific features music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II with tunes like "Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali Ha'i," "Happy Talk," "There Is Nothing Like A Dame," "Younger Than Springtime," "I'm Gonna Wash That Guy Right Outa My Hair" and "I'm In Love with a Wonderful Guy."
The 77-member cast included Sara Stout as Navy nurse Ensign Nellie Forbush, Roy Schwab as French plantation owner Emile de Becque, Brian Stout as Seabee Luther Billis, and Brian Falk as Marine Lt. Joseph Cable. The island merchant Bloody Mary was portrayed by Marjie Thiel, and her daughter Liat was played by Samantha Dahm.
This 19th anniversary musical was led by Kerrylynn Kraemer, a veteran director from the Plymouth area who made her LPI debut. Leopold Shircel was the assistant director. Other team members include music/pit orchestra director Mandy Radloff, choreographer Veronica Lampe, and technical director Bill Johnston. Jan Rogne and Dori Ross handled costume design, while hair and makeup was created by Maureen Schommer and Alexia Horstmeier.
"It was nice to be 'back in the neighborhood' so to speak as my parents still live in Fredonia and many of my cousins are from the Random Lake and Dacada area," said Kraemer. "With everything that has been going on in my life, it was nice to be 'back home' even if it was for a little while. South Pacific is a classic and even though there are more modern and more popular shows out there, it’s always good to go back and remember how and why these types of shows became so a part of American culture."
And after the brutal winter of 2013-14, just the sight of palm trees and grass skirts created plenty of "happy talk"!