Theater Info for the Washington DC region

American Music Stage South Pacific

By • Oct 21st, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the American Music Stage’s production of South Pacific [MP3 5:34 2.6MB].

Laura: This is the review of Rodger and Hammerstein’s South Pacific performed by the American Music Stage at the Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia. I saw the performance on Sunday afternoon October 21, 2007.

This was a very good show, with a lot of great talent on stage. The dancing and singing were really very good. You could hear everything that was going on on stage. The performers did well. It looked like they were having fun. It was kind of a small audience, but it was opening weekend so that was to be expected. I enjoyed the show very much.

South Pacific is a musical with music by Richard Rogers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan. On a South Pacific island during World War II, a US Navy nurse from Arkansas, Ensign Nellie Forbush falls in love with a middle aged plantation owner, Emile DeBeque. Meanwhile the restless US Navy sailors, led by an entrepreneurial seabee Luther Billis, lament the absence of women or combat to relieve their boredom. Lt. Joe Cable from the U.S. Marine Corps arrives on the island to take part in a dangerous spy mission that might turn the tide of the war against the Japanese.

Nellie Forbush, the ensign who is stationed on the South Pacific island as a nurse, was played by Wesley Woodley. She did a great job. It looked like she had so much energy. It really looked like she was having a good time. The scenes that she had with Emile DeBeque were very real. She had a lot of emotion, and especially the love songs they sang together were very touching. I enjoyed her performance.

Emile DeBeque, the older French plantation owner, was played by Michael Nansel. He had a very deep voice. It wasn’t booming or knock the sound guy off his chair. It was a very full, rich voice. He had a good scene in the second act about how much he loved Nellie and how much he was going to miss her. He asked her to marry him in the first act and she initially refused. The song he was singing about that was just incredible.

Bloody Mary did a good job. She was played by Patricia George Houser. She was different from what I expected. In the movie she was a round woman who wore flowing dresses and things like that. This Bloody Mary was actually in loose fitting trousers, but she was still a lot of fun. She had so much expression on her face. She was really having a good time with the other sailors and the seabees that were on the island looking for something to do to relieve their boredom. She was just really fun. Her song, “Bali Ha’i” was very moving. She did a great job.

Billis, the entrepreneurial sailor who was always looking for that get rich scheme, was played by Martin Bestimt. He did a good job. He had a really nice singing voice, with a lot of emotion.

The orchestra was down below the stage. It wasn’t overpowering. It was a nice auditorium for musicals because the sound carried well and you could hear everybody. I think everybody was miked. The sound carried well and it wasn’t overpowered by the orchestra.

The set was nice. You had two areas. The plantation owner’s terrace area that was set up. The other side was where the sailors hung out and the performance area during the Thanksgiving show and also where the admiral would hold some meetings with DeBeque and Cable who came in and played a role in the second act especially. It was very good. It was very colorful. It moved very well. I think everyone was assigned what to bring on and what to take off. The sound overall was good. There were a few times when the actor would start talking and then the sound would come on. At one point I heard talking off stage when someone’s microphone was not turned off fast enough. It wasn’t anything telling and no bad words or anything. It was no big deal, just something I noticed so it was kind of funny.

I really enjoyed this play. I encourage you to go see it. It is really a lot of fun, a lot of peppy upbeat music. People really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the singing of it. The songs were very nicely done. They were loud with strong projection. They all really had a good time.

South Pacific is playing for one more weekend. Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and a Sunday matinee at 3 pm at the Ernst Theatre at the Northern Virginia Community College Annandale Campus in Annandale, Virginia. Definitely recommend you go see this show.

And now, on with the show.


  • Nellie Forbush: Wesley Woodley
  • Nellie Forbush (Honorary): Taryn Marstyn
  • Emile DeBeque: Michael Nansel
  • Cable Michael Schlesinger
  • Bloody Mary: Patricia George Houser
  • Billis: Martin Bestimt
  • Stewpot: Dino P. Coppa
  • Captain Brackett: Philip Baedecker
  • Harbison: Marcus Dunn
  • Liat: Anna Custodio
  • Henry: Cheng-Ming Chow
  • Professor: Kevin Dykstra
  • O’Brien: Jeffery Scott Auerbach
  • Jerome: Aaron Schlesinger
  • Ngana: Hannah Schlesinger
  • The Nurses: Rita Powel, Kristi Baeseman, Mary Ayala-Bush, Lori Roddy
  • The Marines: Curtis Jones, A. J. Ennis


  • Conductor: Rosemary Dyer
  • Violin: Steve Natrella, Megan Frame
  • Cello: Virginia Gardner
  • Clarinet & Flute: Dana Gardner
  • Oboe/English Horn: Jane Hughes, Mary Padilla,
  • Horn: Damon Nelson
  • Trumpet: Christian Posse
  • Percussion: Matt Robotham


  • Producer: Steve West
  • Director: Patricia Woolsey
  • Assistant Director/Accent Coach: Jane MacFarlane
  • Musical Director: Rosie Dyer
  • Choreographer: Rita Powell
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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