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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Musical crosses generations - for audience and directors

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ken Shields and other cast members rehearse for "South Pacific."
(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff )
Grandmother and grandson oversee upcoming production

SIKESTON -- For the first time in Sikeston Little Theater history, a grandmother-grandson duo will direct the organization's upcoming musical production.

Alice Jackson, 69, and her 14-yearold grandson, Sam Polivick, are directing "South Pacific," which is scheduled to run Thursday through Sunday and Feb. 29-March 2 at the Albritton-Mayer Cultural Center in Sikeston.

"It has been one of the best things we've ever done," said Jackson about teaming up with her grandson. "He has the best ideas and is so active in the theater. He see things I don't, and I see things he doesn't. We complement each other very well."

Polivick agreed.

"It's been really good, actually. She knows about how theater happened in the older days, and I know what we do now, so it works good," Polivick said about working with his grandmother.

While Jackson has directed Little Theater productions in the past, her grandson has acted in various Little Theater productions since he was in kindergarten. But most recently he's wanted to work behind the scenes.

"I've been doing this for a long time and I know what goes on and needs to be done for a good play," said Polivick about his credentials to work as an assistant director.

Being assistant director is difficult, but it's rewarding, too, Polivick said, adding he prefers working behind the scenes.

Jackson said she and her assistant director worked together on scripting and casting.

"Sam and I have the kind of relationship where he can speak up to me if he wants. We can be very frank with each other," Jackson said.

And it was actually Polivick who suggested "South Pacific" to the Little Theater board members.

"He had played in the orchestra for 'An Evening With Rodgers and Hammerstein,' and he thought the best music they played was from 'South Pacific,'" Jackson said about her grandson.

"South Pacific" is the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical set during World War II.

"The storyline involves nurses and sailors who are on a South Pacific island, and there are two parallel love stories carrying through the story -- an American nurse and a resident plantation owner who fall in love and also a U.S. Marine who falls in love with a native girl," Jackson said.

It's a story mixed with love, laughs and tragedy.

"Both the nurse and Marine must face their own prejudices," Jackson said. The musical was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. "South Pacific" is the only musical ever to have won all four Tony Awards for acting. It was nominated for nine Tonys and won all of them.

"The music from 'South Pacific' are some of the most well-known songs to ever come out of Broadway musical theater," Jackson said. "These are songs that are immediately recognizable."

Songs include "Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali Ha'i," "Younger than Springtime" and "Wash that Man Right out of my Hair."

Rehearsals for the 29-member cast began Jan. 7.

"It is a large cast, but 'South Pacific' is a large musical," Jackson said.

The production also features an orchestra, a 12-member female "nurse" chorus and a 10-member male "sailor" chorus. There are about 12 people who work behind the scenes.

"Their musical numbers are vital to the total production of this play," Jackson said.

The play features a mixture of familiar and new faces to Little Theater. Principle players include Scarlett Loomas, Harold Myrick, Alanna Mills, Ken Shields and Jeremiah Reeve, all of Sikeston.

Kathy Jackson is music director, and Ed Cowan is orchestra director. Set designers are John and Teresa Fisk of Sikeston.

"The island set is wonderful, and you will think you're on a South Sea island," Jackson said.

This will be the second time Little Theater has presented a rendition of "South Pacific." The first was in the 1960s under the direction of Hope Terrell of Sikeston.

"It was very, very well received," Terrell said.

In fact the show was so well received out-of-town performances were given in Caruthersville and Kennett, Terrell said.

Jackson said she hopes the new rendition of "South Pacific" is a hit, too.

She said: "I would like to praise the cast and crew for sharing their time and talents to present this time-honored, award-winning musical for our community to enjoy."

What: Sikeston Little Theater production of "South Pacific"

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21-23; 2 p.m. Feb. 24; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29 and March 1; and 2 p.m. March 2

Where: Albritton-Mayer Cultural Center in Sikeston Admission: Tickets are still available for each performance at Collins Music in downtown Sikeston.

Cost is $6 a ticket.