Emmy Award-winning actor and author GregAlan Williams is the featured performer in the UVI Theatre's fall production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific." Williams will join a UVI Theatre cast and crew of more than 60 for the production's two nights - Friday, Nov. 12, and Saturday, Nov. 13, at UVI's Reichhold Center for the Arts. Showtime is 7 p.m. each night. Tickets are on sale now at the Reichhold Center Box Office, the UVI Bookstore, the UVI Humanities Building and Dockside Book Shop.
Williams, who has appeared in more than 150 films and TV shows and written three books, will play the musical's lead in the role of Emile de Becque. UVI student Natalie Opoku will play opposite Williams as Nellie Forbush. Other UVI students in lead roles are Joshua Jon-Pierre, who plays Luther Billis, and April Rose Fale, in the part of Liat. UVI employee Rita Aguila will portray Bloody Mary, while UVI Professor Dr. Doug Iannucci fills the role of Stewpot. Community members in featured roles are Tim Abraham, as Lieutenant Joe Cable, Gene Lancaster, as Captain Brackett, and Dana Paradise, as Commander Harbison.
Three ensemble groups also figure prominently in the production,
including approximately 20 men in the roles of sailors and
soldiers, 25 women playing nurses and 16 others playing
"South Pacific" is directed by Dr. Doug Larche, UVI's Playwright-in-Residence. Dr. Larche said the ambitious production will be something special for the UVI program, because of the size of the cast and crew and because it offers local performers the chance to work with an Emmy Award-winning actor. Dr. Larche, who is directing "South Pacific" for the fourth time, has dedicated this production to the memory of his late son Jason Larche, who once played the part of Emile deBecque.
GregAlan Williams has played recurring guest roles on TV shows including "Bay Watch," "The Sopranos," "The West Wing," "The District" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air." He recently started filming for the next season of the popular BET series "The Game." His film credits include "Remember the Titans" (2000), "Old School" (2003), "Be Cool" (2005), "Dog Days of Summer" (2007), Oliver Stone's biopic "W." (2008), "The Collector" (2009) and "Preacher's Kid" (2010).
Williams gained wide recognition in 1992 when he came to the
rescue of a Japanese-American motorist who was being beaten by a
black mob on the day that four Los Angeles police officers were
acquitted of the beating of Rodney King. Williams' book "Gathering
of Heroes" is a memoir of the King riots. It includes his
reflections on rage and responsibility. Williams has also penned
"Boys To Men - Maps For The Journey" and most recently the novel
"Heart of a Woman."
Fans of GregAlan Williams may already know that he is the voice featured in television commercials produced by the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.
Williams, who met and mingled with UVI Theatre cast members on Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Reichhold Center, considers this production of "South Pacific" to be "a wonderful opportunity to work with young people who have an interest in theatre and community people who have an interest in theatre, and to be here to answer their questions and encourage them."
"Doug (Dr. Larche) is a friend of mine," Williams said. "He's been working with young people for a long time all over the country and the world. So when he called and said he was doing the show ... I really, really wanted to do it. I mean come on, this is Rodgers and Hammerstein."
Williams describes himself as a working actor. "I'm a guy who people don't know my name, but they know my face, because I've been around so long. And there are lots of us. A lot of these young people, or their families, think work in the theatre is feast or famine... but it's not. What they don't understand is that I've got children, I've got children in college and I'm able to handle my responsibilities. And I don't have to work every day.
"This is a real life. It's not pie in the sky at all. It's very much a business. So you have to understand how to manage it and you have to be versatile. So you're going to have to do film and television along with your theatre and perhaps voice over. I do a lot of the voice over for the (V.I.) Department of Tourism," Williams said. "If you're versatile, and you have a lot of tools in your kit, it's a very viable living."
As director, Dr. Larche stressed the importance and
contributions of all members of the cast and crew. "We are a
company. We are an ensemble," he said. "Every person on stage is
developing relationships and creating a part of the "South Pacific"
ambiance. We value the contribution of every single person
He also lauded the participation of various groups represented in the cast and crew - UVI students (including members of the Bucs basketball team), UVI employees and general community members. "We've got some great communities represented and a wonderful representation of about 14 members of our Asian Pacific islander community," Dr. Larche said. "They are all involved on stage." Along with the major roles of Liat played by April Rose Fale and Bloody Mary, played by Rita Agulia, three young Asian Pacific islander children play Emile deBeecque's children. The others are members of the islander ensemble.
Dr. Larche also noted that the production also restores "an exciting era in the cooperation between the great people at the Reichhold Center and here at UVI Theatre." He also said the effort to keep ticket prices at reasonable levels will allow as many as possible to the show, which "is so much about history, geopolitics, anthropology, issues of race and cultural dislocation, art, music and literature."
Ticket prices for the reserved seating area are: $10 for students, $20 for adults and $30 for orchestra seating. General admission seating - under the stars - is $7.50 for students and $15 for adults. In addition to the outlets listed above, tickets may also be purchased online at www.reichholdcenter.com.