Summer Place Theatre Announces South Pacific​ Artistic Staff




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Summer Place Theatre Announces  South Pacific​ Artistic Staff
Steve Koek
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Summer Place Theatre Announces South Pacific​ Artistic Staff

Talented team of experienced musical theater veterans and educators to collaborate for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s American classic

NAPERVILLE, IL (January 28, 2019) - The Summer Place, Naperville’s community theater since 1966, is excited to announce an All-Star artistic staff for this summer’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific. Director Jorge Bermudez leads a talented artistic production team that will celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of America’s most prominent and important Broadway musicals. After an impressive Summer Place debut last summer, Nickel Hays has signed on as Choreographer. Summer Place veteran and Executive Board Vice President Emma Gingold  will serve as Music and Vocal Director.

“These three talented musical theater veterans fulfill all of the qualities we were looking for, bringing a collective level of professionalism and experience needed for such an important and meaningful show,” said producer Steve Koek. “All three artistic directors are educators, they all have experience in working with the diversity of talent and experience of community theater, and they all have a passion for the theater, as well as a love and respect for this American classic.”

Working his first show at Summer Place, Jorge Bermudez earned a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Science in Human Resources from Loyola University of Chicago, after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts in Performance Studies. Jorge has taught acting, directing, musical theater history, among others, at the postgraduate level, and has directed over a dozen musicals for community theater, including Oklahoma!, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Miss Saigon, and 42nd Street, just to name a few. The Chicago-area native returns to the theater after a brief time away, enabling him to provide a fresh look to a decades-old show he is directing for the first time.

Emma GingoldThis will be Emma Gingold’s third Summer Place musical serving as Music Director, following incredible successes with Footloose and Camelot. She is a talented and accomplished musician, working as an accompanist for a wide range of choirs, festivals, and musical theater productions, as well as a busy piano teacher in the LaGrange area. Emma graduated from Knox College with a Bachelor of Arts in english literature and a minor in music.

Nickel HayesNickel Hays is an accomplished dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theater Performance at Columbia College Chicago and is currently working toward a Master of Arts in Teaching at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Nickel is a teacher at  Fox River Grove Middle School, and has choreographed many musicals there, including Lion King, Jr., Beauty and the Beast, Jr., Fame, Jr., and Into the Woods, Jr. She was last seen in Summer Place’s production of Footloose last summer, where she served as the production’s dance captain and performed in several roles, bringing down the house as Betty Blast, the sassy, roller-skating owner of the Burger Blast.

South Pacific Celebrates 70 Years

In the south seas near the end of World War II, two couples fall in love against the backdrop of a dangerous espionage mission that could turn the tide of the war. A US Navy nurse and a young American lieutenant must each battle their deeply ingrained prejudices in order to find happiness with the one they love. South Pacific is a Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning classic based on James Michener’s Pulitzer Prize winning series of short stories, Tales of the South Pacific, and remains a favorite with themes as relevant today as they were in 1949. Timeless songs like “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught,” “Nothing Like a Dame” and “Some Enchanted Evening” highlight a magical score.

South Pacific auditions will take place at the end of March. Check back soon for details! 

Open Production Positions Include Technical Director, Stage Manager

The Summer Place is still in need of supporting staff positions, including technical director, stage manager, costumes, set and construction, orchestra pit musicians and more. Summer Place is also accepting applications for Music Director and Vocal Director for our final production of the summer, a beautiful, modern musical filled with contemporary and familiar music. The show is so new that the publisher will not allow us to announce the title until April 1. Qualified candidates for all positions can email a cover letter and resume to


The original production of South Pacific in 1949 was so wildly popular that scalpers sold tickets for $200, which would be about $2000 today. There was even a market for fake ticket stubs so audience member wannabes could brag about their attendance to their friends. Luckily, our ticket prices are much more reasonable and they go on sale February 1. Until then, consider a Season Ticket and enjoy all 3 summer shows at an early-bird price. Buy yours now!


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