“If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”



Make Believe - from The Frogs to Frozen

Make Believe is the U3A group which not only explores the history of musical theatre from ancient Greece to the current day but also visits theatres to enjoy the experience which only live performances can provide. So far this year its members (the Believers) have enjoyed trips to Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury and Mame at Salisbury Playhouse.

This summer the Believers will be travelling to Chichester to enjoy Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific and would be delighted if you would join them. Initial details are given on the poster (see opposite): further details will be supplied nearer the date of the visit.

Chichester Festival Theatre

Chichester Festival Theatre and its summer musicals are matches made in heaven.  After last year's thrilling production of Oklahoma!, the previous year's joyful production of Me and My Girl and the 2017 & 2016 productions of Fiddler on the Roof and  Half A Sixpence (the latter transferred triumphantly to London's West End) the theatre has gained an enviable reputation for staging world class musicals.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific

The musical premiered in 1949 on Broadway (with Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin) and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances – a record run exceeded only by Oklahoma! in 1943. The musical transferred to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (with Wilbur Evans and Mary Martin in the lead roles and Sean Connery and Larry Hagman in the chorus!) where it ran for 802 performances

The plot revolves around an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II, who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. A secondary romance, between a U.S. lieutenant and a young Tonkinese woman, explores his fears of the social consequences should he marry his Asian sweetheart.

The Creative Team

This production is directed by Chichester's Artistic Director, Daniel Evans, who has been nominated for four Olivier Awards and won two .

Julian Ovenden (Emile De Becque) - is a regular performer at the BBC Proms with, inter alia, the John Wilson Orchestra: he has appeared as lead actor in many musicals both on Broadway and in the West End (incl. Annie Get Your Gun, Show Boat, Sunday in the Park with George). Among his TV and film credits are appearances in Downton Abbey (as suitor to Lady Mary) & Foyle's Law (as the son of DCS Foyle);

Gina Beck (Nellie Forbush) – has played the lead roles in many West End theatre productions including Miss Honey (RSC's Matilda), Magnolia Hawks (Show Boat), Glinda (Wicked - both in the UK and US), Christine Daaé (The Phantom of the Opera) and Cosette in (Les Miserables).

Rob Houchen (Lt Joseph Cable) – performed in such diverse musicals as Spring Awakening, The Producers, Candide, and Children of Eden before joining the West End cast of Les Misérables (Marius). He then played in the London productions of Titanic and, last year, The Light in the Piazza with Renée Fleming at the Royal Festival Hall.

Joanna Ampil (Bloody Mary) - has performed in West End productions of Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables and Avenue Q. At home in Manilla (the Philippines) she has played lead roles in The Sound of Music, Cats and Waitress. She was chosen by Cameron Mackintosh to play the role of Kim in the premiere of Miss Saigon in Australia.