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Meet Commander Harbison!
Steve Koek
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Meet Commander Harbison!

South Pacific Profile: Veteran actor Kelly Markwell brings years of experience to the role of the Executive Officer

Kelly Markwell is a database administrator with a degree in music education. Kelly previously played Nathan Detroit in Summer Place Theatre’s Guys and Dolls, and this will be Kelly’s 18th theatrical performance over 38 years including playing Emile de Becque in South Pacific as his first leading role. More recently, Kelly has been in “Music Man”, “Wizard of Oz” and “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Kelly’s wealth of talent and experience joins a cast of theater veterans in celebration of the 70th anniversary of South Pacific opening on Broadway.

South Pacific opens on June 7!

Get your tickets here

QUESTION: Who or what inspired you to start doing theater?
My parents have always been a large inspiration for music in my life. Their love of music filled our house. As the youngest of five siblings, we were all in band and took piano lessons. But as the youngest one of the family, I was the show off and the one bitten by the theater bug.

Q: What was the musical that had you fall in love with musicals?
Sound of Music. While there is no parallel in my life, I love the story of how Captain Von Trapp shunned music and hid it from his children but they discovered it anyway and reminded him of its beauty.

Q: What is the favorite role you've ever played?
Kind of like asking who your favorite kid is. Best I can do is narrow down the top three for different reasons. “Emile DeBecque” in South Pacific was my first ever leading role. Cowardly Lion in Wizard if Oz was another top role because it was a show that I always wanted to do, but I ended up performing it under circumstances that were less than ideal. But my most fond memory was Nathan Detroit in the 2008 Summer Place Guys and Dolls because of the wonderful production crew and the absolute best Adelaide with whom I could have ever acted.

Q: What is the dream role you still want to play?
I have two: Tevye (Fiddler in the Roof) and Shrek.

Q: What is the most challenging part of bringing this story to life?
Not overthinking, and remembering to relax and enjoy what I’m doing.

Q:Do you have any performance superstitions?
I take the day off work for opening nights, and usually get the guy’s dressing room singing “I’ll Make a Man Out is You” from Mulan as we’re putting on makeup and costumes. But I also love to absorb and participate in everyone else’s traditions from different theater groups.

Q: If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would you want to play you?
No idea, maybe Jim Belushi?  

Q: What do you do when you’re not doing theater?
My day job is computer geek- database administrator. On the weekends I direct a handbell choir. That’s all permeated by being a husband and dad.

Q: Which character from South Pacific would you most like to have dinner with and why?
Captain Brackett. My dad was in the Navy from 1952-1956, and I’d love to hear more stories from someone else in the Navy at that time – stories of the history.

Q: Why should people come see this production of South Pacific?
Aside from it being the 70th anniversary of the show, the theme of racial tolerance is just as important today as it was when the show opened. And as for this particular production, we’ve only been in rehearsals for a few weeks, and I’ve seen some amazing talent from humor, drama, musicality and our director. It’s going to be one heck of a show!

Come see Kelly and the rest of this incredibly talented cast when South Pacific opens on June 7.

Learn more about our production here   Get your tickets here

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