press release

Ogunquit Playhouse Announces Cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific

For Immediate Release:
June 11, 2012


Ogunquit, Maine–The Ogunquit Playhouse, America’s Foremost Summer Theatre, is set to open one of the most enchanting musicals of all time, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, on stage June 20 – July 15. This all-new production is based on the lavish and breathtaking 2008 Tony Award winning Lincoln Center Theater production. Set on a tropical island during World War II, the musical tells the sweeping romantic story of two couples and how their happiness is threatened by the realities of war and by their own prejudices. Beloved songs include “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” “This Nearly Was Mine” and “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame.” Don’t miss this American classic that critics hailed as “Flawless,” “Simply Wonderful” and “Gorgeous!”

The Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to announce that Branch Fields will headline as Emile deBecque. Mr. Fields has been hailed by Opera America as "a bass of resonant richness," and The New York Times declared him to be "a gifted bass.”In 2008, Mr. Fields joined the cast of South Pacific on Broadway, understudying the role of Emile deBecque in the Lincoln Center Theater production, which won seven Tony Awards. This marked Mr. Fields’ Broadway debut, sharing the stage with Matthew Morrison, Kelli O’Hara and Skipp Sudduth.

Branch Fields made his debut at New York City Opera in 2005 in Capriccio,and since has performed many roles including Zuniga in Carmen,Angelotti in Tosca and Gravedigger in Esther. He has sung with many regional companies throughout the U.S.including Santa Fe Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Carolina, Michigan Opera Theatre and Utah Symphony/ Utah Opera. In concert, Mr. Fields has performed with the Munich Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra and most recently with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

Jennie Sophia will reprise her role from the National Tour as the perky Nellie Forbush in the Ogunquit production. She is aChicago native and has performed many roles in regional theatres throughout the US including, Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown), Brigadoon (Fiona), Oklahoma! (Laurey), Fiddler on the Roof (Hodel), Picnic (Madge), Cinderella (Cinderella), Circle of Friends (Aunt Cornelia), Passion (Mistress), Anything Goes (Hope), Kiss Me Kate (Lilli) and The Sound of Music (Maria).

Christopher Johnstone will portray Lieutenant Joseph Cable in the Ogunquit production. He recently toured with the 1stNational Lincoln Center Tour ofSouth Pacific.He has sung with the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Cincinnati Pops, the Boston Pops and the Long Beach Symphony among others. A graduate of the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, Mr. Johnstone has spent summers alongside some of the world’s top artists at Tanglewood and Castleton and has played TV roles on “All My Children” and TLC’s “Personal Justice.” Hsin-Yu Liao joins the cast as Liat, the role she most recently performed in the Broadway National Tour of South Pacific.

Shaun Kerrison, returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse to direct Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.  He has most recently directed "The Magic of Disney in Concert" for Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee in London, an open air concert for 100,000 people in Hyde Park. He is soon to direct My Fair Lady for the BBC at the legendary Royal Albert Hall in London. Mr. Kerrison recently directed two separate productions of Sunset Boulevard, for both Goteborg Opera and for the U.S. Regional Theatre Premiere at the Ogunquit Playhouse, starring Stefanie Powers. He also directed both Les Miserables and My Fair Lady for Ogunquit. On Broadway, Shaun was the Resident Director of Mary Poppins, Associate Director for the Broadway revival of Les Miserables and directed the National Theatres of Great Britain’s production of My Fair Lady for its 50th Anniversary US National Tour. In the UK, Shaun was the Associate Director of Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre London and its UK National Tour, My Fair Lady at the National Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and UK Tour, Peter Pan and The Pirates of Penzance both at the Savoy Theatre, Resident Director of The Lion King at the Lyceum and assisted Trevor Nunn on Acorn Antiques the Musical at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Choreographer for the Ogunquit production is Victor Wisehart who will bring the original musical staging of Christopher Gattelli to the Ogunquit Stage. He has danced principal roles with the New York Theatre Ballet, joined the 50th Anniversary World Tour of West Side Story playing to sold out opera houses in Paris, Vienna, Zurich, Athens, and the West End. After returning home to America Mr. Wisehart had the honor of being part of the original cast of the 1st National Tour of Lincoln Center’s Tony Award winning production of South Pacific. He has performed and Associate Choreographed many productions of Oklahoma! and Carousel all over the United States, as well as for ballet companies and various workshops for new musicals.

Musical Direction will be under Ken Clifton was last seen at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Always Patsy Cline with Sally Struthers. Ken has been the Musical Director for many Ogunquit Playhouse productions including 2011’s critically acclaimed production of Miss Saigon and the award winning, The Music Man and in 2010 for Sunset Blvd. and Chicago. Ken is the resident music director for the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida, and in addition also works as a vocal coach and composer/lyricist.

Up next is the devilishly sexy Damn Yankees (the new Boston Red Sox version!) on stage from July 25 – August 18. A bewitching seductress, America's favorite pastime and Satan himself mix it up in this popular Adler and Ross musical comedy, starring Carson Kressley.Sally Struthers will return in the Broadway musical from multiple Grammy Award-winning song writer Dolly Parton, 9 To 5: The Musical, on stage fromAugust 22 through September 15. Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story rocks the 80thAnniversary season to a close from September 19 – October 21. This joyous celebration of a musical legend will have you dancing in the aisles!

Get your ticket today! Prices range from $39-$74 per show. Purchase tickets, subscriptions and gift certificates online at www.ogunquitplayhouse.org, or through the Box Office at 207-646-5511.