‘South Pacific’ hits the stage after lengthy production process

By Rebecca Watters

[email protected]

Since planning and auditions began in April 2014, the UK Opera Theatre has been working tirelessly to perform the musical “South Pacific.”

The opening night performance was Oct. 8, and performances will continue this weekend, with shows on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Student tickets will be sold an hour and a half before the event for $10, and public tickets can be purchased online at the Lexington Opera House’s website. (www.lexingtonoperahouse.com)

Producer Everett McCorvey, director of opera for the School of Music, said Thursday’s opening night performance was a reward for the company’s hard work.

“It was a magical evening in the theatre —it’s the way you always hope opening night will go,” McCorvey said. “We had a full house, so there was electric energy in both the cast and the audience.”

The production required almost 200 workers, including about 40 actors, 40 orchestra members, and the crew and creative team.

“(We) have become the city’s opera house,” McCorvey said. “We take the responsibility very seriously because the public expects a certain level of excellence from us. We only bring the best to the opera house.”

Former UK political science student Jenna Day, who graduated in 2013, was cast as the lead for the production. She was also crowned Miss Kentucky in her senior year.

(Nellie) has many different elements to her personality. She has shortcomings, she has weaknesses,” Day said. “She has things about her that aren’t good. But, she also has this overwhelmingly beautiful heart, and that ends up winning in the end.”

The storyline of South Pacific has been unique and exciting for actors. It is set in the South Pacific during World War II, and the characters interact and grow as the story progresses.

“Every character goes on this life-changing journey as they take the stage. They don’t enter the show like they exit the show,” Day said. “This storyline is what is going to move people, maybe even to tears.”

Though the songs of the musical may not be familiar by title, Day said she is confident the audience will recognize them during the performance.

“I think it will surprise people how many of the songs they actually know,” Day said. “Every song became a hit.”

After South Pacific, the Opera Theatre will continue their work on “Bounce: The Basketball Opera.” A workshop performance will take place in November as the creative and production teams continue to work toward the grand opening late next year.

“The process of the workshop will take about a year,” McCorvey said. “Our performance in November will show people where we are at that point.”