When director June Bayless was thinking about putting on the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musical “South Pacific,” she had one actor in mind for the lead. Finding a second choice was not really an option.
Bayless got her man. South Charlotte resident George DeMott will play the lead role of Emile as the Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts will bring “South Pacific” to life beginning June 8 in downtown Matthews. There will be nine performances over the next three weekends.
DeMott had the leading role in the musical “Oklahoma” at the Matthews Playhouse. Nellie will be played by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools fourth-grade teacher Annie Carter.
“DeMott was outstanding in Oklahoma and he has an opera, classical background,” Bayless said. “After talking with George and working with George, I thought he would make a great Emile De Becque. That is a hard role to cast. Some shows you don’t do if you already don’t have the leads in mind. Once he agreed to do the show, we framed the rest of the cast around him. Not everybody can play this role. He is fantastic on stage and he has quite a following.”
DeMott moved to south Charlotte two years ago and he took his daughter to a performance at the Matthews Playhouse. While there, he saw a notice for auditions for the musical “Oklahoma.” DeMott went in thinking about auditioning for a small role in the production but was instead given the lead role of Curly in the production at the Matthews Playhouse.
“I had done Oklahoma 30 years earlier when I had graduated high school,” DeMott said. “I was thinking I was too old to play Curly but they gave me the lead role. I had a blast, and it went very well. June said she hoped we could do another show together.”
DeMott said he can’t wait for opening night.
“This is something I have never done before, and it has worked out,” DeMott said. “It is a very interesting role and it is one of the most loved roles in musical theater. It’s a fun character to put on and play. Finally, I get to sing this iconic role. It’s a great part and there are a lot of different dimensions to his character.”
• Friday, June 8 – 8 p.m.
• Saturday, June 9 – 8 p.m.
• Sunday, June 10 – 2 p.m.
• Friday, June 15 – 8 p.m.
• Saturday, June 16 – 8 p.m.
• Sunday, June 17 – 2 p.m.
• Friday, June 22 – 8 p.m.
• Saturday, June 23 – 8 p.m.
• Sunday, June 24 – 2 p.m.
Tickets cost $19 for adults, $16 for seniors and students and $13 for children 10 and younger.
Visit www.georgede mott.com or www.mat thewsplayhouse.com.