Coming up at HVRHS: ‘South Pacific’
FALLS VILLAGE — Students in the Housatonic Musical Theatre Society at Housatonic Valley Regional High School continue their annual tradition of presenting classic musical theater with youthful zest and verve this weekend with shows on March 15 to 17.Their 2012 production is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” the story of young men and women stationed on an Asian island during World War II. They survive war and tragedy, they fall in love and they learn to overcome their small-town prejudices as they are exposed to the beauty and complexity of the wider world around them.Michael Berkeley directs the show again, taking time off from his regular job as artistic director at TriArts in Sharon. He is joined again by HVRHS alumna Lori Belter, who started the theater program nine years ago and is production manager for this show.“We chose ‘South Pacific’ because it is a musical theatre classic with a gorgeous score by Rodgers and Hammerstein,” Berkeley said. “But also because of its important and timeless message about prejudice.” The show is largely made up of colorful, joyful song and dance routines. Some of the most famous numbers include “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair,” “Happy Talk” and “Honey Bun,” with famous silly lines such as “A hundred and one pounds of fun, That’s my little honey bun!”But the plot has serious points as well. It tells the emotional journey of a young man who falls in love with a South Pacific island woman; and a young woman who falls in love with a French plantation owner who has two children from a relationship with an island woman. The famous love songs from the show include “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Bali Ha’i” and “I’m In Love With a Wonderful Guy.”The Housatonic productions teach students self-esteem, showmanship and song-and-dance skills. Berkeley and Belter take pride in the team spirit and cooperation the theater crew and cast develop. They also learn about history, in this case about World War II and the Pacific Theater of operations. For this show, the students are backed up by a live, 10-piece orchestra including harp and violins. The cast of 38 students includes Myles Clohessy and Jill Cannon. This year the shows will be held on Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 16, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 17, at 1 and again at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are open seating, are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors, students and children. On Friday night only, there is a special discount for balcony seats of $5, available only at the door. All other tickets are available at the door or in advance at the following locations: Canaan Apothecary, Kent Apothecary, Salisbury Pharmacy, Sharon Pharmacy, The Wandering Moose Café (W. Cornwall), and Harney & Sons Tea (Millerton, NY) or online at www.hmts.org. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. performances, and at 12:30 p.m. for the 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 17. Copies of the show’s handsome poster, designed by student Matt Bongiolatti in his art class, are available at the theater society website.