West Shore Community College announces its cast for the upcoming production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic musical “South Pacific,” June 20, 26 – 27, at 7:30 p.m. and June 21 and 28, at 2 p.m.
Love blossoms fast and early in “South Pacific in Concert,” says the classic musical’s director Dr. Rick Plummer. “It is a sumptuous, rapturous ode to love,” Plummer adds. “It has a great score, great book, and in our production, a great cast.”
This production is Plummer’s final production as director of the college’s arts series, when he retires from the college at the end of July.
Michelle Kiessel plays Nellie Forbush, the plucky yet somewhat naïve Navy nurse from Little Rock Arkansas who falls hard for a French planter who has taken refuge on the South Pacific island on which she is serving during WWII. Michelle has been seen in as Maria in “The Sound of Music,” as Marian in “The Music Man,” as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret,” and in countless other starring roles.
David Moul, a recent Michigan State University vocal music education graduate, plays that French planter, Emile De Becque, and was last seen as the title character in “Shrek-the Musical.” “Emile captures his ‘love-at-first-sight’ situation so beautifully in the musical’s signature song, ‘Some Enchanted Evening,’” says Ted Malt, WSCC Professor of Music and the production’s musical director.
Connor Klock, a theater major at Western Michigan University and a recent Mason County Central High School graduate who starred in several high school plays in Scottville, as well as playing the featured role of Brad Majors in the production of “The Rocky Horror Show,” stars as the young love interest, Lt. Joe Cable.
Lorrell Pepple from New Era and a Shelby High School graduate who studied at Muskegon Community College, and who delighted audiences last summer in “Shrek-the Musical,” plays the towering, unforgettable, tuneful Tonkinese matron, Bloody Mary.
Mark Becklund, new to the WSCC stage, plays the irrepressible con man and perennial audience favorite, lead sailor Luther Billis. Maia Jonassen, a Hart High School drama student is seen as Liat, Cable’s young Tonkinese love interest.
Susan Filter, who has been in several plays at WSCC, plays Commander Harbison, the head nurse. Elliot Plummer, a recent GVSU vocal music education graduate, who has just finished his student teaching at Ludington High School in choir, and who has been seen in several leading roles at WSCC, including that of Curly in “Oklahoma,” plays the sailor named Stewpot.
Tyler Corliss, a WSCC student and recent Hart High School graduate, plays the sailor named Professor. Tom Calabretta, a local west Michigan businessman, plays Captain Brackett, the hard-nosed commander of the island known to his men and the women who serve under him as “Old Iron Belly.”
Pip Van Wyck plays Emile’s half-French, half Polynesian son Jerome. Hannah Filter plays Emile’s biracial daughter Ngana. Macelina Shriver, a Ludington High School drama student, plays a Nurse. Hannah Plummer, a recent Cornerstone University graduate, also plays a Nurse.
Carlos Ortega, a Hart High School graduate and drama student, who has been seen onstage there and at WSCC, plays a Sailor. Erin Thibault, a Ludington High School drama student, is seen as a Nurse and Tonkinese girl. Bethany Anderson, also a Hart High School Drama student, plays a Nurse and Tonkinese girl. Ellie Cooper plays a young Tonkinese acolyte to Bloody Mary.
Nicki Danyluk, another Hart High School Drama student plays a Nurse and Tonkinese girl. Marna Jonassen, yet another Hart High School Drama student plays a Nurse and Tonkinese girl. Jackson Forner, a Hart High School graduate who was seen in several productions in Hart, plays a Sailor.
Plummer also applauds the “South Pacific in Concert” production team, when he cites Jamie Pepple as the vocal coach and accompanist, Emily Hartrum as the stage manager, Mike Mikula as the scene and sound designer, Susan Barnard as the costume designer, and Amanda Coleen as the lighting designer. Rounding out the production team are Kelsey Motyka and Maggie Moul as costume assistants.
Malt says that the pit orchestra of professional musicians that he has assembled from all over west Michigan for this production is, “hands down, the finest ensemble he has ever worked with—anywhere.”
“South Pacific in Concert” is also featuring a “Nothing Like a Dame Award” contest and a “Vet of the Day Award” contest. The intent is to salute women leaders and service men or women from the community, Plummer says. The winners of the awards will be invited to one of the performances and honored before the production.
“South Pacific—in Concert” plays for five performances, so ten awards will be made during the run of the production.
Plummer explains that nominees for the “Nothing Like a Dame Award” should demonstrate excellence in one or more of the following criteria--leadership, vision, philanthropy, volunteering, management, or who exhibit exceptional love and devotion in child rearing-motherhood-raising a family.
Any active military personnel or veteran who has served in any branch of the military, and has shown an exceptional sense of duty to country, is eligible for the “Vet of the Day Award.” To further honor the service and sacrifice of military personnel and veterans, WSCC is offering a “Salute to Service Night” on Thursday, June 26. Any veteran or currently serving serviceman or woman will be given a free ticket on that night.
All honorees will be given two complimentary tickets to the performance. Plummer asks that nominations for both the “Nothing Like a Dame” and the “Vet of the Day” Awards be sent to him at the college, either by mail at 3000 North Stiles Road, Scottville, MI 49454, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, June 8.
Tickets for “South Pacific in Concert” are available online 24 hours per day, seven days per week at the college website.
Reservations may also be made at the college box office at 843-5507.
Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Communications & Community Engagement