Tony Award nominee Tsidii Le Loka, who created the role of Rafiki in Broadway's The Lion King, will sing Bloody Mary in the Dallas Theater Center's revival of South Pacific only through May 16.
The hit resident nonprofit staging of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic will close after basking in the sun of a two-week extension (it was to close May 2).
Performances began April 7, the exact 50th anniversary of the musical's Broadway opening.
Official opening night of DTC artistic director Richard Hamburger's revival was April 13 at the Arts District Theater. Hamburger's cast includes Sean McDermott (Broadway's Miss Saigon) as Lt. Cable, John Wilkerson (State Fair) as Emile de Becque and Michelle Ragusa (Titanic) as Nellie.
The production puts the show in a modern frame, with a real World War II veteran (a different one each show) stepping onstage to switch on an old movie projector that plays documentary Pacifi c theatre war footage during the overture. Le Loka, a star in her native South Africa, takes on the role of the desperate, capitalistic island native (originated by Juanita Hall) who lulls a handsome American lieutenant into the lush world of "Bali Ha'i," hoping he will fall in love with her daughter, Liat, and give her a better world. Bloody Mary sings "Happy Talk" in order to bring the couple together. Lt. Cable, in turn, finds Liat to be "Younger Than Springtime," but faces his own racial prejudices.
The musical's surprising bigotry theme -- in a show audiences expected to be a romantic wartime musical -- helped South Pacific earn a Pulitzer Prize. The R&H score includes "Some Enchanted Evening," "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," "There Is Nothing Like a Dame," "A Cock-Eyed Optimist" and "A Wonderful Guy."
South Pacific was also remembered in New York April 7 with a new exhibit, "Younger Than Springtime," by the Museum of the City of New York and an April 8 symposium, "Some Enchanted Evening: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Pacific," which included historians and original cast members, at Symphony Space.
The Dallas company also includes Kevin Ligon (1776) as Billis, Charles Hyman as Capt. Brackett, Stephen Breese, Ted Davey, Chamblee Ferguson, Sara Hugh-Harper as Liat, Water Marvin, Demetrious Hardts, Adam Bartley, Hal Friedman, Todd Hart, Matt Hawkins, Thom Penn, Shawn Pfautsch, Chris Prentice, Hiram Quillin IV, Jonathan Visser, Melody Jones, Liz Piazza Davey, Jennifer Freeman, Stacia Goad, Christine Nelson, Merrie Nell Spence, Jenn Tusa, Jammeila Stephens and William Davis.
The company also includes students from the DTC/SMU Professional Training Partnership.
Tickets are $16-$53, with an April 11 "pay-what-you-can" performance.
The Dallas Theater Center's Arts District Theater is at 2401 Flora Street.
For ticket information, call (214) 522-8499.
-- By Kenneth Jones