A trip to the South Pacific – even one that’s all but imaginary – could be tempting draw to any Wisconsinite in January, but don’t accuse the Verona Area Community Theater of using its newest production as a mere ploy to fill seats.

In fact, director Dale Nickels has wanted to bring the musical “South Pacific” to the VACT stage for “many years,” according to a news release from the organization. He will finally get his wish when the show debuts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at the Verona High School Performing Arts Center.

Additional shows will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, Thursday, Jan. 26, Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28, as well as a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22.

“I am so happy that VACT is finally producing this show,” Nickels said in the release. “It has always been one of my favorites and I am so excited for audiences to enjoy our talented cast!”

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical follows Nellie Forbush (Paige Fecteau), an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with Emile de Becque, an expatriate French plantation owner (Sam Marley). Nellie then struggles to accept aspects of Emile’s life and past, including his bi-racial children. Fans of the 1949 Broadway version will also likely remember memorable songs like “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame” and “Bali Ha’i.”

Other members of the cast include Janine Gardner as Bloody Mary, Ryan Odorizzi as Billis and Daniel Jajewski as Lt. Cable. Mickey Lytle serves as the show’s music and vocal director, and other members of the production team are co-choreographers Marsha Heuer and Liz Nickels, producer Dee Baldock, stage manager Kendra Johnson, lighting designer Steve Nickels and costume designer Paula Blankenheim.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. For information or to reserve tickets, call 845-2383 or visit vact.org.

– Kate Newton