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'South Pacific' actress will return to Kauai


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POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009

Veteran Hollywood star Mitzi Gaynor has not been back to Kauai since her “;South Pacific”; turn as Nellie Forbush in 1957 and 1958 — but that will change in October when she returns to the Garden Island to mark the film's 50th anniversary.

“;She's been to Hawaii, but not Kauai,”; said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau. It has been co-marketing the re-release of “;South Pacific”; on Blu-ray disc with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment this year, and Gaynor's visit will be a sort of culmination of the marketing effort, a mahalo to the actress, to composers Rodgers and Hammerstein, and to the movie for its impact on Kauai's visitor and film industries.

The first weekend of October, Gaynor will appear at a private reception for the grand opening of the St. Regis Princeville Resort.

Long before construction, the site was the backdrop for the song “;Some Enchanted Evening,”; sung by Emile De Becque, played by Rossano Brazzi, to Gaynor's Nellie Forbush.

On Oct. 4, KVB will present “;An Afternoon with Mitzi Gaynor”; at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club. It is open to the public, will benefit the Kauai Museum and tickets, at $20, are available from KVB.

Gaynor has been performing her one-woman “;Razzle Dazzle”; show around the country, and while she “;won't be singing for us,”; she will share recollections of the making of the film, Kanoho said.

Not-so-coincidentally, the Kauai Hilton stages “;South Pacific”; once a week and KVB will be hosting about half a dozen national travel writers on the Wednesday before the St. Regis opening.

Also, KVB and its partners, including hotel properties and the like, will be latching on to marketing opportunities presented by the traveling Broadway production of “;South Pacific.”; It will play in several cities, including those that feed the Hawaii market with visitors, such as San Francisco. “;We're going to have somebody over there open with a Kauai message,”; maybe some hula and maybe some Kauai-trip giveaways, Kanoho said.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).