News Release

Cast chosen for Southeastern Opera Workshop's "South Pacific"

Contact: Tonya Lowentritt


     HAMMOND – To help Fanfare celebrate its 25th season, Southeastern’s Opera/Music Theatre Workshop will present the first production of “South Pacific” seen in Hammond in a quarter century. 
     Written by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning writing team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, “South Pacific” opened on Broadway in 1949 and instantly became a hit. Based on two short stories by James Michener from his book “Tales of the South Pacific,” the show explores racial intolerance and prejudice as experienced on a remote island during World War II.
     Despite it’s serious themes, “South Pacific” has been delighting audiences all over the world for decades, featuring such hit songs as “A Cockeyed Optimist,” “There Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Dame,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair,” “I’m in Love With a Wonderful Guy,” “Bali Ha’i” and, of course, “Some Enchanted Evening.”
     Performances will be Monday through Friday, October 18 – 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pottle Music Building Auditorium. General admission ticket prices are $16 for adults and $13 for seniors, Southeastern faculty/staff and non-Southeastern students. Southeastern students are admitted free of charge with their ID.
     Chuck Effler, director of Opera Workshop, encourages everyone to buy their tickets in advance at the Columbia Theatre box office at 220 E. Thomas Street, (985) 543-4371.

     “This show is extremely popular, and I expect to come close to selling out all five performances. If patrons wait to buy at the door, they’ll be standing in the box office line for a long time, and all the best seats will be filled by the time they get into the theatre.”
     Opera Workshop welcomes back guest stage director Alton Geno for this production; audiences may remember Geno’s magical touch in Opera Workshop’s hit summer productions of “The Music Man” and “The Wizard of Oz” in 2005 and 2007.
     The cast includes two local children in the roles of Jerome (Cade Kershenstein of Ponchatoula) and Ngana (Olivia Maurer of Hammond). Cast in the lead roles are Colby McCurdy of Slidell (Emile de Becque) and Bridget Lyons of Ponchatoula (Nellie Forbush). Local theater-goers will probably remember them better from their recent performances as Captain Hook and Peter Pan in the 2009 production of “Peter Pan.” 
     Joining them in supporting roles are Ann Moody of Hammond (Bloody Mary), Joshua Williams of Mandeville (Lt. Joseph Cable), Damian Faul of Amite (Billis), Allison Joiner of Ponchatoula (Liat), Grady Sandidge of Abita Springs (Stewpot), Luke Nettles of Lafayette (Professor) and Jordan Leggett of Slidell (Henry).
     Sailors, marines, seabees and other military types will be played by Kyle Brian of Denham Springs, Caleb Courtney of Hammond, Daniel Duensing of Prairieville, Jonathan Dupre of Luling, Todd Melancon of Prairieville, Josh Olsen of Slidell, Jonathan Turner of Baton Rouge, and Eric Zeringue of Raceland. Nellie Forbush’s team of nurses will be played by Kalee Broussard of Destrehan, Audrey Ducote of Zachary, Karista Filopoulos of Abita Springs, Natalie Kratochvil of Metairie, Mary Malbrough of Covington, Kristina Temple of Amite, Danielle Tenorio of Marrero, and Whitney Vickers of Ponchatoula.
     Effler will serve as musical director and conductor, while Department of Music and Dramatic Arts faculty and staff members Steve Schepker (set design), Ellen Sovkoplas (lighting design) and Richard Walsh (costume design) will provide their expertise to the productions. Bridget Lyons, in addition to playing Nellie Forbush, is choreographer for the production.
     For more information about the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop contact Chuck Effler at

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