'South Pacific' to be presented in Downtown Benton

The Royal Players and W. W. and Anne Jones Charitable Trust will present “South Pacific” at the Royal Theatre in historic Downtown Benton Thursday, July 10, through Sunday, July 13, and Thursday, July 17, through Sunday, July 20.

Director is Jeremy Clay, music director is Jo Murry and choreographer is Jenny Johnston. With music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan, adapted from the novel “Tales of the South Pacific” by James A. Michener, this play is the winner of 10 Tony Awards. It is a favorite of local audiences and has been performed twice by the Royal Players in the past.

The plot centers on an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. Of special interest is that Nellie, the nurse, is from Little Rock. A secondary romance between a U.S. lieutenant and a young Tonkinese woman explores his fears of the social consequences should he marry his Asian sweetheart.

Several of its songs, including "Bali Ha’i," "I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair," "Some Enchanted Evening," "There Is Nothing Like a Dame," "Happy Talk," "Younger Than Springtime" and "I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy" have become popular standards.

The Royal cast features Kaede Wilson as Nellie, Danny Troillett as Emile, Cheryl Troillett as Bloody Mary, Maddie Moore as Liat, Drew Ellis as Lt. Joe and Justin A. Pike as Billis. Emile’s children are portrayed by Izzy Hammonds and Elijah Harris. Other characters are brought to life by Jerry Davidson, Ryan Lynch, Koty Mansfield, Tanner Oglesby, Jay Davies, Matt Burns, Jordan Burnett, Tony Clay, Daniel Lieblong, Paige Carpenter, Hillary Bell, Sandy Shipe, Charlotte Hammonds, Reagan Hammonds, Morgan Potter, Cassie Lovell, Matt Burnett, Abby Jo Windsor, Tye Davis, Ashley Groves, Anthony McBride, Baylee Crosby-Lemon and Shaunacie Mize.

Ticket prices are $12 adult, $10 senior and $5 student. Reservations can be made at 501.315.5483. Online tickets are available at theroyalplayers.com. For the convenience of patrons, a volunteer will be at the theater 3-5 p.m. on the following Wednesdays and Fridays to answer reservation calls: July 2,9,11 and 16. At other times, callers are asked to leave a message or order online. For each ticket purchased online, the patron gets $1 off a medium or large drink at the concession stand. Thursday through Saturday performances are at 7 p.m. Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.