The national tour of South Pacific announced Jan. 15 that Tony Award-winner Robert Goulet will join the cast, and now comes word that another Tony-winner, Gretha Boston, will sing some of Richard Rodgers' lushest melodies.
Boston won the Best Featured Actress (Musical) Tony for playing Queenie in the Harold Prince staging of Show Boat, and will try a new accent as Bloody Mary, the island native who sings of "Bali Ha'i," in South Pacific, the show that won Rodgers, Hammerstein and Josh Logan the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Armelia McQueen (the current Bloody Mary) leaves the tour in Austin, TX, Feb. 3. Boston assumes the role Feb. 5 in Nashville. Boston was also a Tony nominee for Best Featured Actress (Musical) for It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues.
Michael Nouri, the current Emile de Becque — the romantic French planter who woos a Navy nurse on an island during World War II — leaves the show in East Lansing, MI, March 17. Goulet begins March 19.
* Barry and Fran Weissler, producers known for snagging big stars for their musicals Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun and Seussical, netted Goulet. He's 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.
Goulet was the original Lancelot from Broadway's Camelot and won the Tony Award for the Kander and Ebb musical, The Happy Time. He also 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 Barry and Fran Weissler 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.
The show is booked at least to fall 2002.
— By Kenneth Jones