Marmion Academy stages 'South Pacific'
It isn't every day that students in a high school play are visited by a Broadway actor.
The cast of the upcoming production of "South Pacific" at Marmion Academy was thrilled to have a visit from professional actor and alumnus Victor Hawks, Class of 1993.
When he was a senior at Marmion, Hawks played the role of Emile de Becque in Rosary High School's production of the popular musical.
After studying theater at Catholic University, Hawks headed to Broadway, where he landed roles in the original cast of "Urinetown" and "Les Miserables." He also originated the role of Stewpot in the award-winning 2008 revival of "South Pacific."
Hawks was quick to share what he has learned from being involved in professional theater.
"What I realized was that, through the characters, we create a separate world onstage," Hawks said. "It is our job to figure out their complexities and relationships to one another. Then you can react naturally to others onstage without thinking too much."
Hawks' career path has led to Los Angeles, where he is now busy writing and producing.
The students found the visit from Hawks to be very informative.
"He talked to me about the way the actor approached the role of Emile on Broadway," said Paul Thornton, a junior. "It really helped me to lighten up a bit."
For Paul, the most difficult part of the role is the love interest and making his scenes with Nellie believable.
Playing the part of Nellie Forbush is Alex Joyce, a sophomore from Rosary.
"In some ways, Nellie and I are a lot alike," Joyce said. "I am an optimist, and Nellie is as well. But, in the end, you realize she is really a racist and I would not consider myself a racist."
Paul Thornton's brother John, a freshman, found the visit from Hawks invaluable.
"He really helped me a lot," he said. "Since we played the same role he had a lot of advice. He encouraged me to try some things out during rehearsals, just to see if it worked. And then if the director liked it I could leave it in."
Another first-timer on the Marmion stage is senior Joey Ruddy, who plays the role of Luther.
"Vic got the entire cast to open up," he said "You could really see the difference after he talked with us. I think the most important thing he told us was to have fun. If we have fun the audience will have fun."
"South Pacific" opens today and runs through Sunday at Marmion Academy, with students from Marmion and Rosary High School taking the stage. Shows are at 7 p.m. today and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10.
Set during World War II on a South Pacific island, this classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical features such well known songs as "Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair," "Bali Hai" and "Some Enchanted Evening."
The popular musical is directed by Kristin Voris and features a 40-member cast and full orchestra.
For details or tickets, call (630) 897-6936, ext. 237.
If you goWhat: Marmion Academy's production of "South Pacific," featuring students from Marmion and Rosary High School
When: 7 p.m. today and Saturday, April 8-9, 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10
Where: Marmion's Alumni Hall, 1000 Butterfield Road, Aurora
Tickets: 10 Dollars
Call: (630) 897-6936, ext. 237