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  Notes and Research on South Pacific

Joan Ellison as Nellie - "Honey Bun"

At the Performing Arts Center - Tri-C East
October 15- November 6, 2002
Directed by
Fred Sternfeld

"South Pacific makes ‘some enchanted evening'"
"Once again, director Fred Sternfeld has gathered an awesome cast of 50 actors... and melded them into a cohesive ensemble in a thoroughly enjoyable production that exudes high quality throughout. "--Fran Heller - The Cleveland Jewish News

Strong performances revive 'South Pacific'

“... you'll never see a liveSouth Pacific of this quality again..”
“... handsome enough to be a Broadway revival..”
"...  For a more authentic time-travel experience, you can go to director Fred Sternfeld's massive Jewish Community Center production of "South Pacific." It's like a slow boat to 1949, where the choruses are huge, the orchestra is brassy, and the heart-on-your-sleeve moral is unabashedly obvious."
  -- Linda Eisenstein - The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Sternfeld's staging magic and the buoyantly natural choreography of Martin Cespedes makes this South Pacific a worthwhile destination." --Christine Howey, The Cleveland Scene --

"The ... cast is anchored by Tom Fulton's layered portrayal of Emile deBecque, the middle-aged French planter who falls for cute-as-a-button Arkansas nurse Nellie Forbush. Besides a robust baritone that nails "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine," Fulton gives his character subtlety and range. Follow his despairing eyes at the Act I curtain as he watches all his hopes and dreams drive away from him in Nellie's invisible Jeep - it's a master class in acting."
--Linda Eisenstein - The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Tom Fulton invests de Becque with a world-weary but charming sophistication as he woos naive Nellie from Arkansas, magnificently employing his hearty baritone on the love-struck "Some Enchanted Evening" and later in quiet despair with "This Nearly Was Mine." -- Christine Howey, The Cleveland Scene

... Fulton 's love jones is bubbling over, and his amour is so convincing that he makes their relationship work." -- Christine Howey, The Cleveland Scene

"Tom Fulton is excellent as Emile. He creates a clear physical and vocal character. His rendition of “This Nearly Was Mine” was wonderful."
- Roy Berko - The Times Newspapers

"As Emile de Becque, Tom Fulton's French accent is strong enough to be credible without being pretentious. Fulton is a fine actor who makes his love for Nellie entirely believable and charming... he acquits himself well throughout in a demanding operatic role originally played by the great basso opera star Ezio Pinza.

Joan Ellison is full of sugar and sass as Ensign Nellie Forbush. The actress reveals a pleasing singing voice in “A Cockeyed Optimist” and “I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” which she sings in tandem with the female chorus, who do some nifty moves with towels. There's even a shower with real running water!

Fulton and Ellison make the relationship between the suave, passionate, worldly older man and the naïve, unworldly, younger woman utterly ingenuous and real."
-- Fran Heller - The Cleveland Jewish News

"Joan Ellison's (as Nellie) clear voice and glowing looks make Nellie more small-town beauty queen than clowning hick. She's sympathetic even as she struggles with her racism." - Linda Eisenstein - The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"...Joan Ellison handles Nellie's singing duties superbly..."
- Christine Howey - The Cleveland Scene

"Joan Ellison delivers a sensitive, bravura performance - a triple threat of effortless dancing, remarkable singing and truthful acting.  Her Nellie is playful, optimistic and at the same time, when the tides turn on her, she is deeply moving as we watch her struggle with her own bigotry. When she cries out to Emile at the end  of the play "Don't die..Emile!"  ones heart breaks... She's been an total delight to share the stage with..."  -- musings by her co-star, Tom Fulton...

As Bloody Mary, the happily conniving souvenir hawker on the island, Cheryl E. Campo is a revelation. Clutching grass skirts in one hand and shrunken heads in the other, Campo is a thorough delight as she relishes her greed as much as the new English phrases she learns ("You a stingy bastard!"). Campo also brings fresh dimensions to her two songs, "Bali Ha'i" and "Happy Talk."
-- Christine Howey - The Cleveland Scene

"An absolute treasure is Cheryl E. Campo as Bloody Mary, a woman not above cheating the bigoted American soldiers at their own game. Campo's facial expressions, mutating from an impish grin to sly cunning and outright indignation, speak volumes about the Tonkinese woman trying to stay one step ahead of the brash Americans. Bloody Mary's moving renditions of “Bali Ha'i” and the infectious “Happy Talk” highlight the evening."
-Fran Heller - The Cleveland Jewish News

"Lean Larry Nehring is a perfect Luther Billis, the scheming sailor who leads an excellent chorus of men in the rousing "There Is Nothing Like a Dame."
-- Christine Howey - The Cleveland Scene

The lanky Larry Nehring does a comic turn as Luther Billis, Bloody Mary's American counterpart and competitor in the souvenir business, including grass skirts, shrunken human heads, boars' teeth and other trinkets.
-- Fran Heller - The Cleveland Jewish News

As "Lt. Cable. Colin Cook's ...lovely tenor makes "Younger Than Springtime" soar.

Cook's fine singing voice does ample justice to the love song “Younger than Springtime” and hits home with the only song of social consciousness, “You've Got to Be Carefully Taught,” whose lyrics show that prejudice and intolerance are taught, not inborn.
Colin Cook as Cable (Kristy Chen as Liat)
Fran Heller - Cleveland Jewish News

Men's Chorus - "There is Nothing Like a Dame!"

Nellie and the Nurses:  I'm Gonna Wash That Man
Right Out of My Hair

"Enough praise cannot be heaped upon the hard-working ensemble, who move extremely well and in total sync under the watchful eye of choreographer Martin Céspedes."
Fran Heller - Cleveland Jewish News

© Copyright Tom Fulton 2001-2005