Valley Performing Arts Center presents ‘South Pacific’ – a classic that’s still relevant in today’s world

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Show dates Fri., Apr. 13; Sat., Apr. 14 and Sun., Apr. 15 at CSUN

By Gail E. Moss

Located on the campus of California State University, Northridge, Valley Performing Arts Center’s season offers a vibrant and diverse performance program of nearly 50 classical and popular music, dance, theatre, family and international events.

Why South Pacific and why now? This reporter spoke with Executive Director Thor Steingraber  for the Valley Performing Arts Center, who is reviving Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific,  the musical known for such iconic songs as, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair” and  “Some Enchanted Evening.”

“We forget how important and relevant some of these pieces where,” Steingraber explains, “Sometimes we have to revisit them in a setting such as ours, with a great cast and a full orchestra, and recall this show was groundbreaking in its time.”

Steingraber reminds us James Michener had won the Pulitzer Prize for writing his book about the war torn South Pacific. “For Rodgers & Hammerstein to decide to write a musical about this war time story was a difficult decision, it was not light material, not just entertainment,” he said.

Executive Director Thor Steingraber. “For Rodgers & Hammerstein to decide to write a musical about this war time story was a difficult decision,” he says of the musical “South Pacific.”

Steingraber was so impressed when seeing a revision of South Pacific at The Lincoln Center he realized, “The script and the story was very challenging and still has resonance today, especially on the issue of race.”

So why would a Millennial want to see this production?  “I’m constantly asking myself, what is the multi-generational appeal,” Steingraber says of all their shows. “It works both ways, sometimes I wonder what can I do to get a Baby Boomer into a performance?” Some of it is just marketing, but he has found that a lot of young people have a renewed interest in musical theatre due to TV shows like Glee and American Idol. “There is new interest in what it means to tell a story, especially through song,” he says.

South Pacific is part of a Broadway series that the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge will be expanding, with details for upcoming shows to be released at a later date.

Steingraber has full confidence that the venue is the best in Southern California. Visitors will be surprised that they are coming to a destination that is state of the art, and how beautiful it is and that they can expect a world class performance.  And even with all they have to offer, you’ll be surprised at how affordable the tickets are.

The Arts Center is not just about the classics, they offer a plethora of pieces for all interests. In addition there are student productions, arts education and even rental spaces available.

“South Pacific” will be presented Friday, April 13; Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15 at Valley Performing Arts Center located at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge (on CSUN’s campus). For more information visit or call the main office at (818) 677- 8800 or the ticket office at (818) 677-3000.



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