Guild’s ‘South Pacific’ will take you to the tropics

Photo by Gordon Mosley Michael Moseley (left) of Allen Park as Emile de Beque and Kathleen Duffy of Royal Oak as Nellie Forbush perform in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “South Pacific” through Dec. 7 at the Players Guild of Dearborn, 21730 Madison in Dearborn. For tickets and more information, call 313-561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

Photo by Gordon Mosley
Michael Moseley (left) of Allen Park as Emile de Beque and Kathleen Duffy of Royal Oak as Nellie Forbush perform in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “South Pacific” through Dec. 7 at the Players Guild of Dearborn, 21730 Madison in Dearborn. For tickets and more information, call 313-561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

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As the house lights dim and the entr’acte begins, the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein takes one away to the South Pacific in the midst of a cold and gray Michigan day.

Ice melts from memory as Bali Ha’i appears on the horizon, and American GIs fight boredom by singing about delightful dames while dreaming of boar tooth ceremonies and lovely natives in ceremonial grass skirts.

Do you get the picture?

Imaginatively directed by Brian Townsend, the Players Guild of Dearborn’s rendition of “South Pacific” is an enjoyable journey filled with favorite songs, unabashedly fun dance numbers, romance, some surprise original touches that make the production unique and old-fashioned optimism, something in short supply in our stressful 21st century world where enemies are not as identifiable as the Axis powers.

Guild president Mike Moseley once again steps into the spotlight to play a crowd-pleasing role, this time as French planter Emile de Beque. One could listen to his voice sing ballads all day and never tire. If “Some Enchanted Evening” does not make you sigh like a hopeless romantic, check for a pulse.

Newcomer Kathleen Duffy is delightful as Nellie Forbush, the cockeyed optimist from Little Rock. She is sweet, spunky and fun to watch and hear.

The technical denizens, though, should lose the Mitzi Gaynor blonde wig and let her play the part with her own dark brunette locks. If you have to wash your hair on stage, why force the female lead to struggle with a wig?

The chemistry between Duffy and Moseley is fun and playful, especially when nurse Nellie, full of champagne, throws caution to the wind.

Kevin Talanges is a convincing Lt. Cable, and one hurts along with him when his romance with Liat seems doomed by the invisible expectations weighing down an Ivy-league officer blue blood.

Liat, Allysa Alonte, is soulful-eyed and exotically alluring in an innocent way.

Characters are plentiful and entertaining, from Tom Sparrow’s Capt. Brackett, to Colleen Meade Ripper’s entrepreneurial Bloody Mary to Tom Davis’ conniving Luther Billis. Kudos to the enthusiasm the ensemble display, whether nurses, sailors, natives or French planter dinner guests.

The Seabees have fun entertaining the house with “There is Nothing like a Dame,” while the nurses make the most of the crowd-pleaser, “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa my Hair.”

The Thanksgiving Follies are fun as well, ending with the rollicking “Honey Bun.”

For tickets or more information, call 313 561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

PGD ANNOUNCES CAST FOR NEIL SIMON’S ‘RUMORS’
Laughter will fill the Players Guild of Dearborn auditorium in January as Neil Simon’s “Rumors” arrives to banish the winter blues.

Directed by Marc Walentowicz’s of Garden City, the show runs Jan. 9 to 11, 16 to 18 and 23 to 25, with performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

For tickets or more information, call 313 561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

Corey Chambless of Plymouth assistant directs, with Chris and Tracy Boudreau of Dearborn co-producing and Inez Hernandez costuming.

Four well-dressed couples gather for a dinner party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of New York’s deputy mayor. However, they find him with a bullet hole in his ear lobe, and his wife missing.

As the tension increases and the guests plot to protect their host from scandal, another shot rings out and the police arrive. The couples keep the audience laughing as the story unfolds.

Nick Graham of Farmington Hills is Ken Gorman, with Sarah Zakaria of Farmington Hills as Chris Gorman.

Alex Gojkov of Dearborn is Lenny Ganz, with Kori Bielaniec of Westland as Claire Ganz.

Alan Ellias of Farmington Hills is Ernie Cusak, with Margaret Kinnell of Dearborn as Cookie Cusack.

Phillip Booth of Dearborn plays Glenn Cooper, with Lindsey Brenz of Troy as Cassie Cooper.

Nick Szczerba of Brownstown Township is Officer Welch, with Carissa Madley of Redford Township as Officer Pudney.