Loretta at Lincoln Center

Loretta Ables Sayre, long a familiar face on Hawaii stages and TV screens, stars as Bloody Mary in a new production of South Pacific at New York’s famed Lincoln Center. It opens April 3. Loretta Ables Sayre has a lot to celebrate this week - turning 50 on April 1 and making her Broadway debut in the first Broadway revival of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s prize-winning musical classic South Pacific

Yu Shing Ting
Friday - April 04, 2008
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Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary in Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacfic
Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacfic

Loretta Ables Sayre has a lot to celebrate this week - turning 50 on April 1 and making her Broadway debut in the first Broadway revival of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s prize-winning musical classic South Pacific, which opens at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center Theater in New York April 3.

“I cried like a baby when I found out that I got the part,” says Ables Sayre, who plays Bloody Mary. “We all have dreams, princess dreams that seem so huge, and as deep as a dream as it is in your heart, there’s that logical side of you that says, ‘really, how attainable is this?’

“And for them to tell me that I got the part, that I was worthy to play the part, and that they chose me over the many, many, many people they saw was probably the greatest confirmation for me of being a worthy performer.”


You may recognize Ables Sayre from various Oceanic commercials currently airing on TV as well as print ads in MidWeek.

She also appeared in recent state Department of Health commercials; performed as the waitress character “Loretta” in Bank of Hawaii’s series of Harry and Myra commercials; played the recurring role of Aunty Jackson in Baywatch Hawaii as well as the role of Nannie Lee in Hawaii; was featured in North Shore; has a recurring role as Auntie in Beyond the Break; performed in Magnum P.I. and had the lead role of Parissima Macadangdang in the TV series Byrds of Paradise.

Ables Sayre got the blessing of Rodgers' and Hammerstein's daughters
Ables Sayre got the blessing of Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s daughters

She also serves as the voice of PBS Hawaii and has appeared in and/or provided voiceover talent in TV and radio commercials for Pearlridge, Hilo Hattie, Pleasant Island Holidays, State Farm, First Hawaiian Bank, Chili’s Restaurants, SlumberWorld and others.

Last summer, she reprised her role of Pua “Ma” Lusa in the musical hit You Somebody at Diamond Head Theatre, for which she won the Hawaii State Theater Council’s Pookela Award for Leading Female in Musical.


Her resume also lists a professional singing/theater career beginning in 1979 as a female vocalist with Keola and Kapono Beamer in the Ocean Showroom of the Outrigger Reef Hotel in Waikiki. From there she went on to become the opening act with comedian Andy Bumatai at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, then toured with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth in the production of Song for the Navigator, followed by five-nights-a-week performances at the Lewers Lounge in the Halekulani Hotel for 10 years and then performing at The Veranda at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel for the next seven years.

Even with all she’s accomplished, Ables Sayre says there’s nothing like Broadway.

Loretta Ables Sayre and company in a scene from the Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific
Loretta Ables Sayre and company in a scene from the Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific

“Getting this role in South Pacific, it’s the best job I ever had in my entire life,” she says. “I’m able to put the two things that I love to do together - acting and singing - in a role that is so colorful and dynamic.

“Also, when I came to New York for the call-back audition, they introduced me to some of the people in the room, and it ends up that there were two women in there, and they were Alice Hammerstein (daughter of Oscar Hammerstein) and Mary Rodgers (daughter of Richard Rodgers). “And to meet the daughters of these two men and to be able to audition in front of them and then also to get their blessing was the biggest thing to ever happen in my entire life. Their fathers wrote American musical theatre as we know it.”

For the past month, Ables Sayre has been working 12-hour

 

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