Robert Goulet's Emile de Becque finally has a Nellie Forbush for the national tour of South Pacific, and her name is Amanda Watkins, a veteran of Broadway's Grease!.
Watkins' Broadway credits include Marty in the Weisslers' Grease!, a Sally understudy in Cabaret, Demeter in Cats and a Silly Girl in Beauty and the Beast. She was an understudy for Quennie in Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, and appeared in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Imperfect Chemistry. At Goodspeed Opera House, she played Gaby in Mirette and Jeannie in They All Laughed.
Barry and Fran Weissler, producers known for snagging big stars for their musicals Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun and Seussical, netted Goulet in January. The original Lancelot from Broadway's Camelot will play romantic French planter Emile de Becque in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic set in the World War II-era South Pacific. The tour is booking at least through fall 2002.
Goulet is no stranger to the role, having sung "Some Enchanted Evening," "Twin Soliloquies" and "This Nearly Was Mine" on a smash North American tour beginning in 1987. He won a Best Actor Tony Award for The Happy Time in 1968 and became a recording and nightclub star. In his later career, the suave baritone toured as Arthur in Camelot (which came to Broadway) and played the title role in a Man of La Mancha tour. The new national tour of the Pulitzer Prize-winning South Pacific is produced by the Weisslers in association with Clear Channel Entertainment. Jerry Zaks is the production supervisor and Scott Faris and Gary Chryst are the director and choreographer, respectively.
This production of South Pacific was originally produced by the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul, Minnesota, Kevin McCollum, President and CEO.
— By Kenneth Jones