South Pacific

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

Dean Rettig for Footlighters Inc

Local actress Julie Woffington plays Nellie Forbush in Footlighters' South Pacific: She'll use a P&G product to wash a man "right outta her hair."

When JULIE WOFFINGTON, as Nellie Forbush, sets out to "wash that man right outta my hair" in Footlighters' production of SOUTH PACIFIC, opening Thursday, she won't be using the product she markets in her day job: As Tide's associate marketing director for North America, she manages a $2.5 billion budget for Procter & Gamble. (In case the P&G police are monitoring CityBeat, she reports she is using Pantene, another product from our local soap merchant.) Woffington, who also plays the role of mom to 18-month-old Wendy, has the multi-tasking gig down pat. Over the past decade, living in Chicago (where she worked for the consulting firm Deloitte & Touche) and now Cincinnati, she's managed to participate in roughly 40 stage productions. She sings, dances and acts, so it's mostly been musicals — including conducting the orchestra for West Side Story at Footlighters back in 2002 when her husband, Jay, directed. They met in a production of Godspell when they were undergrads at Duke University, and they've both gained immense satisfaction from their work onstage. (They recently taught Wendy to take a bow, so she's on her way, too.) As for playing Nellie, the naíve Navy nurse, Woffington had her first crack at the role in a production of South Pacific at a Wisconsin theater camp for high school kids. "I was one of eight Nellies! We each got to do a scene and a song."

This time she'll do the whole role, adding that she grew up on Rodgers & Hammerstein's familiar score. Her favorite number is "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy," she says. "Nellie is on cloud nine, and it's wonderful to sing that emotion." You can see Woffington and company at Footlighters' Stained Glass Theatre in Newport (802 York St.) from Thursday through Oct. 23. Tickets: 859-474-8711. ...

In another part of Newport you can see Tony Kushner's ANGELS IN AMERICA: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES, a play about New Yorkers affected by the AIDS crisis during the Reagan years, which won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for drama. With its sequel, Angels in America: Perestroika, it's considered by many to be the greatest American dramatic work of the 1990s. But it's also a controversial and technically demanding work. (No local professional theater has produced Angels; the touring production in 1996 stopped in Louisville and Columbus, but avoided conservative Cincinnati. Its only appearance on a Cincinnati stage was at UC's College-Conservatory of Music in 1998-99. An HBO television movie in 2003 earned 21 Emmy nominations.) Millennium Approaches will be staged by Falcon Theatre for three weekends, commencing Friday (through Oct. 22) at Newport's Monmouth Theater (636 Monmouth St.). Falcon, which began as a community theater but has recently stepped up to more serious fare, will use special effects to achieve the show work in the Monmouth's limited space. According to director Ted Weil, "What's important isn't that we make an angel fly around the room, but that we create a supernatural environment where something magical and awe-inspiring happens. We don't have a theater with high enough ceilings to safely fly someone, but we can certainly create magic onstage." It's a daunting task, but I'm glad to see this show get another local staging. If you're serious about theater, Angels is one you need to see. Tickets: 513-481-9042. ...

Falcon used to perform regularly at the Westwood Town Hall (3017 Harrison Ave.), which has been renovated and is back in the theater business this weekend with a production of Stephen Sondheim's musical review, PUTTING IT TOGETHER, by Showbiz Players (Thursday through Oct. 16). The piece collects some of Sondheim's best recent tunes into a delicious evening of social edginess. Director BUNNY ARSZMAN has a sterling cast of performers who have been nominated for and won numerous Cincinnati Entertainment Awards: JERRY RAPE, ALLISON COLLINS-ELFLINE, TOM CARTWRIGHT, FORREST FAIRLEY and SHERRY MCCAMLEY. Tickets: 513-981-7888.

Local actress Julie Woffington plays Nellie Forbush in Footlighters' South Pacific: She'll use a P&G product to wash a man "right outta her hair."