FORBIDDEN LOVE: John Greene and Ursula Kay as Emile and Nellie.
FORBIDDEN LOVE: John Greene and Ursula Kay as Emile and Nellie.

Jetty launch for love songs

IT HAS been eight years and almost 2000 kilometres since opera singer John Greene appeared in the musical South Pacific but he's looking forward to treading the boards at the Jetty Theatre through November and December.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the first performance of the much-loved musical at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway in 1949, another much-loved entity, the Coffs Harbour Musical Comedy Company (CHMCC) is ready for some enchanted evenings (18 of them all up) at the Jetty.

New Zealand-born musical journeyman and funeral celebrant Greene moved to Coffs Harbour four years ago after visiting a relative in

the area and falling in love.

But as much as looking after families in their time of need in the funeral industry has been his calling, so has music and so he was quick to join the CHMCC and equally as quick to join the cast of South Pacific and sing the iconic song One Enchanted Evening.

He already includes it in his repertoire for concerts.

John will play Emile, the middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner who falls in love with a young US Army nurse during World War II only to have her struggle to accept his mixed-race children.

"It's the second time I've performed South Pacific," he said.

"I did it eight years ago for the Metropolitan Opera in Adelaide, so when it came here I jumped at the chance to do it one more time.

"It (Emile) is one of the very few roles in a musical that requires opera technique."

South Pacific is based on several stories from James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific and is one of the five enduring classics of the nine musicals on which Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II collaborated.

The original Broadway production received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 10 Tony Awards.

For John it is another chance to tread the boards - something he has been doing for 50 years and has taken him around the world, including stints on the West End and performances with the Australian Opera Company.

John was involved in theatre in New Zealand, but crossed the Tasman to study at the Adelaide Conservatorium.

At the time, the Adelaide Festival Theatre was under construction and he was able to work both on stage and behind the scenes before going to London to further study opera.

In London, he landed a role in The Mikado on the West End and performed with the Welsh National Opera before coming back to Adelaide.

Hear John and the CHMCC in South Pacific at the Jetty Theatre, Coffs Harbour until December 1.


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