Movie Maniac

May 4, 2014

Movie Maniac: ‘South Pacific’ doc explores musical’s effect on race relations

Music Theatre of Wichita and Tallgrass Film Association are partnering for a special event in celebration of MTW’s 43rd season opener, “South Pacific.”

Music Theatre of Wichita and Tallgrass Film Association are partnering for a special event in celebration of MTW’s 43rd season opener, “South Pacific.”

The groups are presenting a free screening of the documentary “Passion, Prejudice and South Pacific: Creating an American Masterpiece” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway. The film’s director, Steven Smith, will make an introduction and there will be a special appearance by World War II veteran Freddy Simon, of Freddy’s Frozen Custard fame (the restaurant chain is sponsoring the event).

Following the screening will be “Bubbly & Sweets,” an after-party at Candela at the Lux, 120 E. First St., from 9 to 10:30 pm. Attendees can meet Smith and hear songs from “South Pacific” performed by members of Music Theatre of Wichita.

Tickets to the after-party are $25 and available at or by calling the Music Theatre of Wichita office at 316-265-3253.

“Passion, Prejudice” examines “South Pacific’s” influence on race relations, and features interviews with WWII veterans, nurses and officers, as well as Mitzi Gaynor, star of the 1958 film version, and the children of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

MTW will present “South Pacific” at Century II on June 11-15. For more information, visit

WAM film night — The Wichita Art Museum will present a screening of “Facing the Storm: The Story of the American Bison,” a documentary that examines the complex, centuries-long relationship between humans and bison in North America.

The film features rare photographs and film footage that depicts the quest to protect and restore bison and explores the spiritual relationship Plains Indians had with the animal.

Lorrie Beck, director of Wichita’s Great Plains Nature Center, will provide an opening overview and remarks.

The screening is being held in conjunction with the museum’s “American Buffalo” exhibit. The film starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd., and is open to the public. Admission is free.

Happy “Star Wars” Day! — Earlier this week, there was a great disturbance in The Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in glee. But they certainly didn’t go silent.

Yes, the cast of “Star Wars Episode VII” was officially announced and met with giddy anticipation for hardcore “Star Wars” fans such as myself.

We were all thrilled to officially hear that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are reprising their roles for the next film (even if we kinda already knew that, and they were spotted in London last week, where filming will take place).

But it was also announced that Ep. VII will star John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow. In what capacity, no one knows. Script details are being kept tighter than a Princess Leia hair bun.

The film will be released far, far away on Dec. 18, 2015.

And in honor of the news and the day, I have to say it: May the 4th be with you!

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