From July 8-14, 2013, The Muny is presenting South Pacific, directed by Rob Ruggiero and choreographed by Ralph Perkins, as the fourth show of its fantastic 95th Season. South Pacific is sponsored by Emerson. To purchase season tickets by phone, call (314) 361-1900, extension 550, or order online at www.muny.org. The Muny Box Office is now open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
Laura Michelle Kelly will star as Ensign Nellie Forbush, with Ben Davis co-starring as Emile de Becque. Joining them will be Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary, Josh Young as Lt. Joseph Cable, Sumie Maeda as Liat, Tally Sessions as Luther Billis, James Anthony as Capt. George Brackett, Michael James Reed as Cdr. William Harbison, Caitlin Chau as Ngana, and Spencer Jones as Jerome.
“We’re thrilled to have the creative team for last year’s glorious The King & I return for another Rodgers & Hammerstein classic,” said Muny Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “Last year, the Muny audience fell in love with Laura Michelle, and we’re thrilled she’s returning. I’m confident they’ll feel the same for Ben, Loretta, Josh and Sumie. This is an extraordinary cast for this landmark musical.”
South Pacific remains one of Richard Rodgers (composer) and Oscar Hammerstein’s (lyricist) most eloquent dramas and deeply felt musical romances. It features a book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The masterful and lyrical love story between Army nurse Nellie Forbush and the mysterious French planter, Emile de Becque, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and its most recent revival swept the 2008 Tony® Awards.
The Muny production features scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, sound design by Jason Krueger, lighting design by John Lasiter, video design by Nathan Scheuer, and costume design by Tracy Christensen. Brad Haak serves as the musical director, and the production stage manager is Bonnie Panson.
LAURA MICHELLE KELLY (Ensign Nellie Forbush) originated the title role in Mary Poppins for which she received an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. In London’s West End, she has been seen in The Lord of the Rings—The Musical, Speed The Plow (opposite Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum), Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia, My Fair Lady and Whistle Down the Wind. Broadway credits include the revival of Fiddler on the Roof and the reprise of her award-winning role in Mary Poppins. Other London appearances include The Second Mrs. Tanqueray and Peter Pan. Regional credits include The King & I (The Muny). Film and TV appearances include Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, Miss Marple: Nemesis, and the upcoming Goddess, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this past season. Her recording’s include The Storm Inside (EMI), the motion picture soundtrack of Sweeney Todd, and the original cast recordings of Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof and The Lord of the Rings—The Musical.
BEN DAVIS (Emile de Becque) will be portraying Anna Nicole’s first husband, Billy, this fall in the BAM/NY City Opera production of Anna Nicole, The Opera. Broadway credits include A Little Night Music (Mr. Lindquist, understudy Carl Magnus, Fredrik), Les Misérables (Javert and Enjolras), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Trevor Graydon), Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme (Marcello, 2003 Tony® Honor.) Ben was seen in the national tour of Spamalot (Galahad.) Regionally, he has starred in The Sound of Music at Paper Mill Playhouse (Cpt. Von Trapp), Boys From Syracuse at DC Shakespeare Theatre (Antipholus of Ephesus), Show Boat at Goodspeed Opera House (Ravenal), 110 In The Shade at Pasadena Playhouse (File), Mame (Older Patrick) at The Hollywood Bowl. Concerts include Kurt Weill’s Knickerbocker Holiday at Lincoln Center (Brom Broeck) opposite Kelli O’Hara and Victor Garber, Westchester Philharmonic with Kelli O’Hara, LA Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony. Film and TV credits include “30 Rock,” Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute directed by Kenneth Branagh, and “Numb3rs”.
LORETTA ABLES SAYRE (Bloody Mary) made her NYC and Broadway debut as Bloody Mary in Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific. She received a Tony® Award nomination and a Theatre World Award for her performance. Loretta then made her London debut continuing her role of Bloody Mary in the London and UK tour of South Pacific with performances across England, Scotland and Wales. Other theatre credits include You Somebody (Diamond Head Theater), Effie in Dreamgirls (Hawaii Theatre), Song of the Navigator (Honolulu Theater for Youth) which toured the U.S. (including the Kennedy Center), Micronesia and Australia. Concerts include opening act for the Beach Boys, Kenny Loggins, James Brown, and the Four Tops. Nightclubs appearances include Halekulani Hotel and Mandarin Hotel. She has been seen on TV in “Beyond the Break” (Nickelodeon), “North Shore” (Fox), “Hawaii” (NBC), “Baywatch Hawaii,” “Byrds of Paradise” (ABC), and is the voice of PBS Hawaii. She was also seen in the movie Sex and The City 2. www.lorettaablessayre.com
JOSH YOUNG (Lt. Joseph Cable) received a 2012 Tony® Award nomination and Theatre World Award for his critically-acclaimed Broadway debut as Judas in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, (directed by Des McAnuff). He appeared for two seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where his credits include Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Connie Rivers in Grapes of Wrath, and Che in Evita (directed by Gary Griffin), earning Toronto’s Broadway World awards for each. Josh also appeared as Marius in the U.S. National Tour of Les Misérables, and as Tony in the International tour of West Side Story (directed by Joey McNeely). Josh’s debut, and his new album Still Dreaming of Paradise are available on iTunes, Amazon, and at http://www.Josh-Young.com.
SUMIE MAEDA (Liat) is making her Muny debut. Her Broadway and New York credits include Hot Feet (City Center Encores!), Kismet (Princess Ababu), and Victor Woo (Fringe NYC). She was seen in the tours of the Lincoln Center Revival of South Pacific (directed by Bartlett Sher) and The King and I (playing the role of Topsy). Regional credit includes Flower Drum Song (AMTSJ). She has been seen on Film and TV in Disney’s “College Road Trip,” “Law and Order: CI/SVU,” and “One Life to Live.” Television commercials include American Express, Heineken, and the web commercial for DKNY. Sumie is originally from Hiroshima, Japan.
TALLY SESSIONS (Luther Billis) was recently seen in Big Fish (Oriental Theatre, Chicago). His Broadway credits include The House of Blue Leaves. He was in the national tours of South Pacific (Lincoln Center Theatre), Legally Blonde, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Off-Broadway credits include Giant (Public Theatre), Queen of the Mist (Transport Group), Yank! (York Theatre), Anyone Can Whistle (Encores!), and Godspell (2000 revival). Regionally, he has been seen in Robin and the Seven Hoods (The Old Globe); Assassins and The Gospel According to Fishman (Signature Theatre); Carousel and Lizzie Borden (Goodspeed Opera House); The Immigrant (Westport Country Playhouse, Connecticut Critic’s Circle nomination); Little Shop of Horrors (Paper Mill Playhouse); Chess (Arvada Center, Henry Award); Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Pioneer Theatre); The Spitfire Grill (Florida Stage); Floyd Collins (Actors’ Playhouse, Carbonell Award); The Full Monty (Carbonell Award); and The Last Five Years (SpeakEasy Stage, IRNE Award nomination).
JAMES ANTHONY (Capt. Brackett) last appeared at The Muny in 2011’s Singin in the Rain and Bye Bye Birdie. Since 1991, he has performed in 42 productions at The Muny, including The Music Man (Mayor Schinn), Mame (Claude Upson), and Peter Pan (Smee), to name just a few. He has also performed at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis as one of the 12 Angry Men, and in St. Joan (Archbishop of Riems). In New York he appeared on daytime’s “One Life to Live”. His film credits include Murder Ordained (Richard Jordan), Back to Hannibal (The Sheriff), Gone in the Night (Detective Foley), The Black Hole (Spencer Toland), and the recently-released Joint Body (Cappy Knight). His professional career spans five decades and includes more than 230 productions.
MICHAEL JAMES REED (Cdr. William Harbison) made his Muny debut last summer in The King and I, appearing as Capt. Orton and Sir Richard. A recent transplant to St. Louis, he was most recently seen in the New Jewish Theatre’s production of Speed-the-Plow, and will be appearing this summer in the Shakespeare Festival’s Twelfth Night. He has appeared with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in Clybourne Park; Steady Rain; The Invisible Hand; Macbeth; In the Next Room or the vibrator play; and many years back, in Life of Galileo and The Three Musketeers. Other St Louis credits include The Taming of the Shrew with Shakespeare Festival, and Upstream Theatre’s Blood Wedding. NY theatre credits include La Bête (Broadway), King Lear (starring Hal Holbrook, Roundabout Theatre), and work at Classic Stage Co., NY Theatre Workshop, and The Pearl. Regionally, he has appeared in numerous shows at the Old Globe, including Pericles in Pericles (directed by Darko Tresnjak) and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar (directed by Daniel Sullivan), at the Alley Theatre as Joe Pitt in Angels in America, at A.C.T. in San Francisco as Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as well as appearances at South Coast Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Asolo Theatre, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Michael trained in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and appeared with the RSC in Richard III starring Antony Sher. TV appearances include “24,” “JAG,” “Six Feet Under,” “The Shield,” “King of Queens,” “That ‘70s Show,” “Numb3rs,” “So Notorious,” “Family Law,” and “Family Man”.
CAITLAN CHAU (Ngana) made her Muny debut as one of the King’s children and Buddha in last season’s The King and I. Caitlin is 11 years old and is passionate about dancing, acting and singing. At the age of 7 ½, Caitlin started dancing at GSPDC and joined the studio’s dance competition team a year later. Her favorite subjects in school are math and social studies, and she enjoys crafting and sketching.
SPENCER JONES (Jerome) is “thrilled” to be cast in South Pacific. He debuted at The Muny last year in The King and I. Spencer is an 8-year-old from Kirkwood, Missouri, where he attends Robinson Elementary.
To purchase season tickets by phone, call (314) 361-1900, extension 550, or order online at www.muny.org. The Muny Box Office is now open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
The 2013 Season:
Monty Python’s Spamalot June 17 – 23
Shrek The Musical June 24 – 30
Nunsense Muny Style! July 1 – 7
South Pacific July 8 – 14
Les Misérables July 15 – 21
Mary Poppins the Musical July 25 – August 2
West Side Story August 5 – 11
Season Ticket buyers will enjoy their reserved seats for Mary Poppins from July 25 – 31. Additional performances (August 1 and 2) are non-subscribed, and offer exceptional seating opportunities for groups.
Groups of 20 or more people can enjoy a 20% discount. The group sales office is taking orders now. For more information or to make reservations, call (314) 361-1900, extension 308.
Single tickets will be available beginning 9 am Saturday, June 1 at The Muny Box Office in Forest Park, online or by phone. For more information, call (314) 361-1900 or visit www.muny.org.
For information on becoming a Muny Partner, visit www.muny.org or call (314) 361-1900.
The Muny’s mission is to enrich lives by producing quality musical theatre accessible to all, continuing its remarkable tradition in Forest Park.
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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. This summer Lia will appear as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Penwah, July 30-August 1, 2013.
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