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      WHAT THE HECK IS BALI HAI? By Thomas Putnam

      baiI can't wait to begin working on the big summer musical SOUTH PACIFIC. A year ago I probably wouldn't have said that or felt that way. One of the curious things about selecting a season is that there is a timing involved: some years/months/days a particular play or musical has no appeal or interest, and then that same play or musical can seem just right at another time. I'm not sure that SOUTH PACIFIC would be on my top 10 list of favorite musicals, but here I am can't waiting to begin working on it.

      How is this possible? Why is this? Don't know. And I'm not sure who suggested it at the APC meeting, but I know that when it was mentioned something clicked and it seemed right. One reason might be that we were discussing shows that we had produced in the past that we could bring back for our 30th Season. Just going down the list of musicals is a bit overwhelming and...well...cool. We've done a lot of great shows, so why did this click?

      Another reason might be that it deals with some issues of prejudice and race and tolerance and acceptance. Just that fact seemed to have some clicks. I've always been grabbed by the song that the young Lt Cable sings “You've Got to be Carefully Taught.” It's chilling. Yep, chilling right in the middle of R&H musical. Pretty timely for a 70 year old play.

      Yet another reason might be that it just has some really great music for both the soloists and for the chorus. Actually two choruses, one male and one female. The sailors have a few great ones, and the nurses have a few great ones. (I love the challenge of building a shower that really works right on stage so poor Nellie can wash that man right out of her hair for every performance!)

      I remember seeing this show when I was a kid and our high school produced it. My sister was a nurse. My dad was the musical director. I remember it vividly; I was around 8. I also remember it when we produced it at HG a long time ago at the WAHS. We got lots of folks in the choruses; great fun. (With a shower that worked on stage!) I don't think I have ever seen it any other place than these. I did see the original movie, and the television version with Glen Close and Harry Connick Junior. As good as those moveies may be, I tend to prefer stage versions of musicals.

      I'm going to have to wait, even though I feel like I can't. We have ALMOST, MAINE to direct and MY WAY to direct, and a two-week long camp with a bunch of kids to direct first before we travel to mysterious Bali Hai. Come away...

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