Your Ticket To Bali Ha’i


“Step, kick, kick, cross-back, step, step; repeat, kick, kick, cross-back.” I heard my daughter practicing in her room.
“How does that look?” I asked, peering through her doorway.
“Step, kick, kick, … ” She went through it again, as I watched her twirl around a room that is too small (and much too cluttered) to dance in.
Kathie practiced her dance routine again and again, trying to perfect each move. Her involvement in our community theater’s latest production has been an entire summer’s commitment for both of us and proven to be a lot of work. Her choreographer, though not a professional, to my eyes easily could be one by the way she envisions the right moves for each situation on stage, knows what she wants to see, and interjects her directions as the music plays. The music speaks for itself.
I first heard the soundtrack from South Pacific while in my crib in a corner of my parents’ bedroom. That slip-cased set of 78RPM records, a part of Mom’s small record collection, made me a lifetime fan of the Broadway musical.
With barely nine weeks to pull it together, the cast has changed, been rearranged, and been subject to working around work schedules and vacations. Now down to the wire during this final week of rehearsals, the director made it clear that complete run-throughs of the show are critical.
After he reminded the cast that their concentration level must be in top form from here on with no time for anything less, the choreographer concluded, “We’re not trying to pick at every little thing, but we want the show to be the best it can be and we know you do, too. We’ve got to keep trying to make it better so it will be our best.” Well stated, I thought.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific plays at the Salem Community Theatre on Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 3, 4,10, 11, 17, 18, at 8 p.m. and Sundays, Aug. 12, and 19 at 2 p.m. The box office number is 330-332-9688.
No matter what one expects of community theater, this show promises to be highly entertaining. If you live near Salem, Ohio, I recommend South Pacific. The cast and direction crew have dedicated their summer to creating singing (and dancing) islanders, nurses and Seabees so that we might go with them to another time and place. Review life at a World War II military station in the Pacific islands and its struggles with bravery, prejudice and love. Drift away to the dreamy island of Bali Ha’i that Bloody Mary describes as her haven home.
“Here am I, your special island!
Come to me, come to me!”
To the wonderful cast: Break your sea legs!

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