Forty years after the community theater company first staged the production, one of its actors will return to play the same part.
Siciliani said he wanted to return to the role after working in stage, film, TV and radio in
"I've been living in L.A. for the last 20 years. But I called Paul and said I'd like to do a show," Siciliani said. "I was very excited to come back. Working with Paul again is a complete delight."
Siciliani will play the musical's comic relief, the enterprising Navy Seabee who famously shows up in a grass skirt and coconut bra for the number "
Set in the
Tischer directs a cast of 40 for the production, which includes such musical theater favorites as "Some Enchanted Evening" and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair." This will be the company's fourth production of the show; its last was in 1996. Tischer said he wanted to bring "South Pacific" back sooner but had difficulty securing the rights until now.
The musical first was produced on
The score attracted the senior Rykert to the role, which he said he has wanted to play for the past decade. He was last seen on stage with Modesto Performing Arts as Capt.
"The music (in '
He also was excited to perform with his 22-year-old son, now a vocal performance student at
While Tischer expects the audience to leave the theater humming the show's familiar tunes, he said the appeal of the piece is more than just its tropical locale and sunny numbers.
"It really has a serious story behind it, unlike some musical theater," he said. "There's a serious message about racial prejudice. It has a universal theme that still applies today."
Much of the tension in the piece comes from prejudices between the white U.S. military personnel stationed on the island and its native Tonkinese people. One of the musical's key numbers is "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," sung by Lt. Cable about racial hatred. His character and LineÉ's Nellie must both move past their own bigotry if they are to find love.
Fulton, who also played Bloody Mary in MPA's 1996 production of "
"We've come a long way, as far as racial things, but there's still a way to go," she said. "It's an excellent lesson for young people."
Bee staff writer
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