Woodminster Summer Musicals
Oakland's Summer Theater
Under The Stars
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Current News Release
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Press contact: Kathy Kahn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-418-8523
Theater contact: Harriet Schlader, email@example.com, 510-531-9597
Website: Woodminster Summer Musicals
What: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, based on James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific
Presented by: Woodminster Summer Musicals by Producers Associates, Inc.
When: 8 pm on August 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 2017
Where: Woodminster Amphitheater, Joaquin Miller Park, Joaquin Miller Road at upper Sanborn Drive, Oakland
Tickets: 510-531-9597 or www.woodminster.com or at the box office before any performance
Woodminster Summer Musicals Continues 51st Season August 4 With South Pacific
Rodgers and Hammerstein Classic Has Won More Tony Awards Than Any Musical In History
July 15, 2017, Oakland, CA – Producers Associates announces that the 51st season of the Woodminster Summer Musicals continues with the classic South Pacific. This Rodgers and Hammerstein gem will be performed August 4-13 at Woodminster Amphitheater in Oakland's Joaquin Miller Park, located on Joaquin Miller Road at upper Sanborn Drive in the Oakland hills. The show’s famously rich score and its thoughtful treatment of issues like racism and the costs of war have kept it a popular American classic for nearly 70 years.
Shortly after the conclusion of WWII, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, already hugely successful with Carousel and Oklahoma, set out to write a popular musical that would also send a strong progressive message about racism. Using James Michener’s Pulitzer-Prize winning short story collection Tales of the South Pacific as inspiration, they succeeded so well that South Pacific still has an important and relevant message today. South Pacific has a compelling plot and some of the most memorable songs in musical theater history, including “Bali Ha’i,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Younger Than Springtime,” “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair,” and many more.
Says director Joel Schlader, “After Mamma Mia, it may seem like our season is taking a more serious turn with South Pacific. This is a show with a lot of depth and texture or it wouldn’t still be a musical theater standard almost 70 years after its original Broadway opening. But it has also survived because it has humor and heart and it’s vastly entertaining. It’s a war story, but it’s about characters the audience will root for and enjoy. The people in the story wrestle with moral decisions, fall in love with people they didn’t intend to fall in love with, and show courage in the face of fearful events. Also, there’s a lot of really great singing and dancing and some of the best melodies ever written.”
Tickets are available by phone, at 510-531-9597, online at www.woodminster.com, or in person at Woodminster Amphitheater 11-4 daily or at the box office before any performance. Performances are August 4 (opening), August 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, and 13, all at 8 p.m.
Tickets for summer musicals at Woodminster Amphitheater range from $31 to $64, with a $2 discount for seniors 62 and older. Since the founding of the theater in 1967, one of Producers Associates’ missions has been to make live theater affordable for families in the local community, and the organization offers many ticket discount programs with that in mind. They include:
• Season tickets and flex passes (about a 15% discount)
• Group rate 25+ (about half price, specific performances)
• Group rate 12+ (about 15% off, any performance)
• Oakland residents (about half price, opening night of each show)
• Millennials 17-30 (about half price, at the door any performance)
• Kids Come Free (up to 16 yrs, 1 free with 1 paying adult, at the door any performance)
• K75 (up to 16 yrs, about 75% off, 5 discounted kids with 1 paying adult, pre-sales okay, any performance)
For details about discount programs, check www.woodminster.com or call 510-531-9597.
The production will be directed by Joel Schlader, with music direction by Daniel Thomas and choreography by Jane Mason. Woodminster shows are performed with live orchestras, and musicians are members of Musicians Local No. 6.
South Pacific tells the story of a group of American servicemen and women on a South Pacific island during World War II, and their interactions with each other and the residents of the island. The role of Nellie Forbush, an American Navy nurse and self-described “cockeyed optimist,” is played by Amanda Johnson. Nellie falls in love with an older French planter on the island, Emile De Becque, played by Chris Vettel. Chris was most recently seen on the Woodminster stage as Georges in La Cage aux Folles in 2016 and Mr. Banks in 2015’s Mary Poppins. The role of Bloody Mary, the Tonkinese woman who sings the show’s haunting “Bali Ha’i,” is played by Jeffrie Givens, who has performed at Woodminster many times, most recently as Mamma Bear in 2016’s Shrek The Musical. US Marine Lieutenant Joseph Cable, who falls in love with Bloody Mary’s daughter Liat, is played by Josh Marx, with Liat played by Sara Pon. Comic relief is provided by entrepreneurial Seabee Luther Billis, played by Edward Hightower. Edward won a Theatre Bay Area outstanding performance award in 2016 for his featured role as Lord Farquaad in Woodminster’s Shrek The Musical. The full cast, including both professional (AEA member) actors and talented local community members, numbers 35.
South Pacific opened on Broadway in 1949 and was an immediate hit, running for 1925 performances. It was in many ways a groundbreaking work. At that time, it was traditional for a musical to have two romances, one comic and one serious. Rodgers and Hammerstein chose to focus on two serious romances, both of them challenged by racism. According to Playbill, the venerable theatre magazine, South Pacific has won more Tony awards over the years than any other musical: “When it comes to Tony-winning pieces of literature, nothing even comes close to beating South Pacific.” In 1950, it won Best Actor in a Musical (Ezio Pinza), Actress in a Musical (Mary Martin), Featured Actor in a Musical (Myron McCormick), Featured Actress in a Musical (Juanita Hall), Director (Joshua Logan), Original Score (Rodgers and Hammerstein), Libretto (Hammerstein and Logan), Producers (Leland Hayward, Rodgers, Hammerstein, and Logan), and Best Musical. It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. There have been numerous revivals, most notably the 2008 production that broke the record for the number of Tony Awards for a revival of a musical.
After South Pacific, the 51st season of the Woodminster Summer Musicals will conclude with the family favorite Disney’s Beauty and the Beast September 1-10.
Over the last 51 years, Producers Associates has presented 160 productions, entertaining about a million Woodminster Summer Musicals ticket holders. The shows have been performed by more than 5000 actors, over 20% of them members of Actors Equity Association, making the organization one of the Bay Area's most reliable employers of professional actors. The musicals have always been performed with live professional orchestras, which have included 23 different conductors and over 1800 members of Musicians Local #6. In addition, the organization has employed 26 professional set designers, 17 lighting designers, 25 costume designers, 6 sound technicians, 18 choreographers, 6 directors, and over 1,500 young backstage interns.
Woodminster Summer Musicals are performed under the stars at Woodminster Amphitheater, an open-air performance facility in Joaquin Miller Park high in the Oakland Hills. The park's spectacular views and serene woodsy environment made it the perfect setting for the amphitheater, cascades, reflecting pool, and paths that were originally built as a WPA project in 1939-40. For many East Bay families, it is a long-standing summer tradition to enjoy a picnic in the park and then see a musical at Woodminster. For more information about the 2017 season or the history of the organization, visit www.woodminster.com.
Kathy Kahn, Publicity & Marketing
Woodminster Summer Musicals
Producers Associates, Inc.
More information and photos
Lieutenant Cable (Joshua Marx*) falls in love with Liat (Sarah Pon) in Woodminster's South Pacific.(*member of Actors Equity Association. Photo by Kathy Kahn.) Click on the photo for a print resolution version. Visit the South Pacific page for more photos.