P R E S S
Lincoln Center's South Pacific First National Tour, US:
Jodi Kimura is aces as Mary, asserting herself puckishly and mangling English with the shameless disregard of a woman interested only in closing a sale…Kimura’s Happy Talk are some of the highlights.--Washington Post (Washington, DC)
As that obnoxious opportunist Bloody Mary, Jodi Kimura added substantial hilarity to this already bigger- than-life role. But she proved no slouch, either, in the vocal department, particularly in her wistful, almost dreamy interpretation of the exotic “Bali Hai,” a tune that still gets audiences thinking about booking an impulse trip to Hawaii or Tahiti as winter descends. Ms. Kimura makes thoughts like these almost unnecessary as she transports us all to her exotic isle with her voice alone.
--Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Bloody Mary, always a scene-stealing role, is given a commanding take by Jodi Kimura. But there's a melancholy mystery to this South Pacific as well; when Kimura sings of the whispering, beckoning nearby island, Bali Ha'i, you'll be right there with her, picturing its charms.–Dcist (Washington, DC)
There are other impressive performances here—Jodi Kimura makes for a dangerous, challenging and cynical Bloody Mary.
–DC Theater Scene (Washington, DC)
The show is a tingly musical treat. Especially fine moments include…. Jodi Kimura as mercenary Bloody Mary delivering a surprisingly soulful and poignant Bali Ha’i.-- Washington Blade (Washington, DC)
Jodi Kimura makes a strong Bloody Mary, but also reveals the softer side of the brusque islander in subtle touches.
--Baltimore Sun (Washington, DC)
Bloody Mary (Jodi Kimura), is a rascally saleswoman, offering everything from shrunken heads and grass skirts
to any buyers she can find. Kimura also vividly portrays the other side of Bloody Mary's character, as the
scheming mother who barters with her daughter's life. – Washington Examiner (Washington, DC)
Another scene-stealer is Bloody Mary brought to life by Jodi Kimura. Kimura is capable of broad comedy and then able to bring anguish and tenderness with a heart-breaking veracity. --Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, WI)
The lush Bali Ha'i, performed wonderfully in this production by Jodi Kimura accompanied by a full orchestra, is a stand-alone gem.--Broadway World.com (Providence, RI)
Without ever ignoring the mystery of Bloody Mary Jodi Kimura wins the audience over with laughter before she delves into the darker side of the role showing us the desperation that drives Mary's actions. To watch her sing Happy Talk is to observe a master class in acting subtext. --Toronto.Broadwayworld.com (Toronto)
Conviction and determination stamp nearly all the performances, notably Jodi Kimura's Bloody Mary, who rises far above her character's traditional role of exotic comic relief.. You may never have thought of Happy Talk as a song of desperation, but once you've heard this performance you may never think of it any other way. --Toronto National Post (Toronto)
Then there’s the larger-than-life, but always-believable Bloody Mary. When Kimura launches into Bali Hai, the entire landscape of the South Seas flashes into your head. --Hamilton Spectator (Toronto)
As the voice of the exotic other we have Bloody Mary, played brilliantly by Jodi Kimura. Her voice and comedic timing were one of the evening’s many highlights. --Epoch Times (Toronto)
Jodi Kimura’s Bloody Mary is outstanding in its audacity and brazen seductiveness, and the actress makes her two big numbers (Bali Ha’I and Happy Talk) seem wonderfully organic to her nature and the plot. –StageAndPage.com (Toronto)
One of the other decided highlights is Jodi Kimura's portrayal of Bloody Mary. Kimura gives the character the required sense of mystery as she sings of her island Bali Hai’. --InsideToronto.com (Toronto)
Jodi Kimura also returns as the devious, money-hungry, daughter-pimping Bloody Mary, and is somehow even more on her game in 2011.--Toronto PostCity.com (Toronto)
The wonderful Jodi Kimura is back as Bloody Mary, a gregarious island sales shark who is greedy for the American dollar, which she earns by hawking shrunken heads and grass skirts. --Scenechanges.com (Toronto)
Kimura's throaty, if hypnotic delivery of Bali Ha'i is sung like the huge, musical sales pitch it's supposed to be. With her crooked grin, low-lidded gaze, and slow, deliberate walk, Kimura delivers a nuanced, fascinating performance that could easily fall into racial stereotype, but never, ever does. --PlayAnon.com (Toronto)
Jodi Kimura dazzles as Tonkinese trinket seller Bloody Mary - including a wistful rendition of ballad Bali Ha'i, a call to the mysterious native island that holds everything the sailors can't have - the place of dreams.
--Fort Myers Naples News (Fort Meyers, FL)
Jodi Kimura was hysterical and eerie as the shrunken head-selling Bloody Mary. --OC Arts and Culture (Costa Mesa, CA)
Jodi Kimura is a scene-stealing Bloody Mary and sings Bali Hai with the best of them.--StageSceneLA.com (Costa Mesa, CA)
Kimura is particularly striking, showing Mary's hollow-eyed intensity. --Orange County Register (Costa Mesa,CA)
Jodi Kimura, as the entrepreneurial Bloody Mary is equal parts fierce and haunting. --Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH)
Jodi Kimura maintains a balance between comedy and pathos as the enterprising Bloody Mary. –City Beat (Cincinnati, OH)
Jodi Kimura brings equal parts colorful comedy and yearning as Bloody Mary, the island entrepreneur who sells grass skirts to G.I.’s, and attempts to persuade Cable to marry her lovely young daughter. Her renditions of Bali Ha’i and Happy Talk are memorable. --CantonRep.com (Cleveland, OH)
A superb performance is turned in by Jodi Kimura, who's Bloody Mary -- a delightfully conniving islander -- is more complex and interesting than her 1949 incarnation. There is a powerful and intriguing undercurrent in her song Happy Talk, which, in other productions, has been a throw-away number with little, if any, weight. --Chagrin Valley Times (Cleveland, OH)
Ms. Kimura played the bargaining Tonkinese merchant Bloody Mary with humorous, yet serious charm, and the audience was once again whisked away to another place in her passionate singing of Bali Hai. --Cleveland Star Reporters (Cleveland, OH)
Jodi Kimura was hilarious as the stereotypical, heartfelt and surprisingly believable Bloody Mary. --Q104 (Cleveland, OH)
Jodi Kimura is more attractive than the usual Bloody Mary, the island lady who sells trinkets to the sailors. She gives a hypnotic performance of Bali Ha'i, and pleads with such desperate sincerity that it's really quite touching.
--Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, MI)
Jodi Kimura is great as Polynesian Bloody Mary, the tough island matriarch who barters with the sailors and shines when she belts out the song Bali Ha’i. --Hershey Lebanon News (Philadelphia, PA)
Jodi Kimura made a properly ugly Bloody Mary, almost as shriveled as the shrunken human heads she sells, but with a lustrous low voice. The way Kimura combines a colorful accent with clear enunciation is a model of communication.
--Broad Street Review (Philadelphia, PA)
Jodi Kimura's Bloody Mary, the crafty Tonkinese business woman, was powerfully voiced and fascinatingly portrayed. Kimura's Bloody Mary - though rough and somewhat eerie - used enough humor to allow the audience to be at ease with her character. In addition to her complex portrayal, her performance of Bali Ha'i was alluring. --Pittsburgh Herald Star (Pittsburgh, PA)
Kimura is a terrific Bloody Mary; she completely inhabits the unusual character, making us laugh while showing her love for her daughter. --TalkinBroadway.com (Pittsburgh, PA)
Kimura's version of Bali Ha'i is very retro and rich. --GO Magazine (Pittsburgh, PA)
Jodi Kimura is a marvelous and big-voiced Bloody Mary. --The Spokesman (Spokane, WA)
Jodi Kimura does terrific work as Bloody Mary, and brings considerable feeling to the mystic wonders of Bali Ha’i.
--Broadway World.com (St. Louis, MO)
Another strong voice belonged to Jodi Kimura as Bloody Mary, played in a more sinister, calculating manner than usual. The role is significant, as this production casts a more realistic hue on the usually sunny musical, making the story much more contemporary. --Movie Marquee.com (St. Louis)
Jodi Kimura’s brilliant performance as Bloody Mary manages to be spooky and hilarious at the same time (the line “Stingy bastard!” never got old). --St. Louis Student Life (St. Louis, MO)
Kimura is particularly notable because she doesn't play her character for laughs: instead her Bloody Mary is a tough woman making reasoned economic choices given her circumstances. In this production her character becomes an indictment of colonialism and the distortions it can create in even the most intimate of human relationships.
--TalkinBroadway.com (St. Louis, MO)
Lincoln's Center South Pacific First National Tour, UK:
My money's on Jodi Kimura's brilliant performance of Bloody Mary, the sassy middle-aged vendor of grass skirts who introduces her beautiful daughter, Liat, to Lt Cable…. and that special island, Bali Ha'i. Kimura's version of Happy Talk is still singing in my head. –NewsEdge (Sunderland)
The majority of the comedy comes from Billis, played by Alex Ferns, and Jodi Kimura’s Bloody Mary. Both actors create interesting and compelling characters that quite easily smoothed over any creases in the narrative of their scenes.
--Sunderland Chronicle (Sunderland)
Bloody Mary (Jodi Kimura) has an incredibly funny role as a street seller, and has the audience laughing continuously.
--The Public Reviews (Sunderland)
For me, Jodi Kimura as Bloody Mary stole the show as she portrayed the wheeling-dealing, mercenary, grotesque who is prepared to pimp out her own daughter. --UK Theater Scene (Aylesbury)
The real meat and depth of both the acting and feel of the production probably came from Alex Ferns as Luther Billis and Jodi Kimura as Bloody Mary. They created the biggest laughs of the night but also the greatest drama. They were the heart and lifeblood of a production that would have been so much less without them. --UK Theater Network (Sheffield)
Jodi Kimura’s Bloody Mary is chilling and amusing all at one as the feisty Vietnamese vendor selling her wares to the sailors. Her rendition of Bali Ha’i and Happy Talk are stunning. --The Public Reviews (Sheffield)
Two of the standouts for me were Jodi Kimura as souvenir seller Bloody Mary and another comic turn, former East Enders villain Alex Ferns as Luther Billis. Both raised the laughs but also added depth to their characters. --The Star (Sheffield)
Comedy is a good part of the story, along with the more romantic and poignant areas when dealing with the conflicts of war and this was brought out superbly by Alex Ferns and (Trevor Morgan in East Enders) and Jodi Kimura. The chemistry between them was excellent. Jodi is also and outstanding contralto and certainly shone in Bali Hai. --Leeds Guide (Leeds)
Jodi Kimura was perfect. I still think she has a couple of the best numbers in the show—Bali Hai was stunning.
--North Leeds Life Magazine (Leeds)
Jodi Kimura is a natural comic, but she really gets to the sadness behind Happy Talk, which is anything but.
--The Culture Vulture (Leeds)
Jodi Kimura is excellent as the islands’ wily shrewd souvenir-selling businesswoman & mother of Liat.
--The Public Reviews (Plymouth)
Jodi Kimura displays a fantastic performance as Bloody Mary, a citizen of the island and mother of Liat, who earns her money by making grass skirts. Her performance is very humorous whilst also displaying moments of concern for her position as a Tonkinese civilian situated within World War II. --What’s On (Plymouth)
Hawaiian-born Jodi Kimura, making her UK debut, and reprising her US role as Bloody Mary, is another one making a buck out of the war and is at turn hilariously comical selling shrunken heads to the sailors, wistfully yearning at thoughts of Bali Ha’i island, and rising in desperation persuading Lt. Cable to marry her daughter. --The British Theatre Guide (Woking)
South Pacific, Riverside Theatre, FL:
Kimura plays the irascible Mary like a crate packed with dynamite, stomping around in a boxy khaki vest, her black hair pulled tight into a top knot like a fuse ready to blow. But oh, when Bloody Mary sings. Her Bali Hai is mesmerizing and you wish it would never end. She lends that same smoky-voiced straight-faced restraint to the silly tune, “Happy Talk”. Her delivery turns its message profound, and in the play’s narrative, prophetic: “You’ve got to have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true.” --Vero Beach 32963
Jodi Kimura (a Hawaiian native who has captured the hearts and pens of international critics) is spot-on perfect as the love-her-and-hate-her island opportunist Bloody Mary. Kimura’s rendition of the show’s iconic song Bali Ha’i is pure magic. She presents a nearly visual glimpse into that mystically cloud-shrouded island which beckons paradise seekers with its irresistibly haunting allure. Yes, we can feel its enticing pull calling to us, and, thanks to Kimura’s powerful performance, Bali Ha’i does indeed become our own “special island.” Through Kimura’s keen personification of Bloody Mary, we also see and hopefully come to understand the complexities of this Tonkinese immigrant to an island who is a hustler eking out a living while seeking to marry off her daughter Liat to patrician-born Cable so Liat can have a better life. –TC Palm
Jodi Kimura was perfectly cast in the role of Bloody Mary. She was funny, gritty, and touching. Her rendition of Bali Hai was hauntingly beautiful. –Planet Vero
Other standouts were Jodi Kimura…Kimura played the role of Bloody Mary with the perfect blend of humor, grit and sentimentality, which shined during her performance of Bali Ha’i. –TCPalmSocial
South Pacific, Gateway Playhouse, NY:
The most confident performance comes from Jodi Kimura as Bloody Mary, an exuberant island woman who sells trinkets to the soldiers. As she enters…she brings an electricity to the show that is otherwise lacking. But her role is not just comic relief. It is central to the more serious themes of the musical. Ms. Kimura does well by her songs, Bali Ha’i and Happy Talk.
--New York Times, NY
A deliciously dirty Bloody Mary, played with aplomb by Jodi Kimura. --New York Theater Guide
Bloody Mary, played by Jodi Kimura, is superb as the earthy, bawdy, feisty Tongan woman, who makes her living selling shrunken heads and grass skirts.
--Long Island Advance
South Pacific, Musical Theater West, CA:
Jodi Kimura totally kills it. Even as she plays into the more comedic and stereotypical qualities of her character there is
always something more ferocious and thoughtful going on under the surface. When she sings Bali Ha'i in the first act, there was a moment where I nearly forgot the island was painted on a backdrop. When she sings Happy Talk in the second, it is so undeniably clear how desperately her character wants a better life for her daughter and herself that the song sounds brand new. Happy Talk is a brilliant exercise in subtext and all around I wished for Mary's role to be bigger than it was.
--Long Beach Post
The one person on stage who had all the energy her role required, and enough to spare for a few others, was Jodi Kimura, whose Bloody Mary was not only funny but sang with the best and most distinctive voice. She was vibrant, lively, passionate and persuasive. --Press Telegram
Jodi Kimura is perfect as Blood Mary, the epitome of a small-time war profiteer. Her switch from crude seductress to meddling mom is masterful. --Signal Tribune
Kimura is a powerful, quietly desperate Bloody Mary with a lovely voice. --BroadwayWorld.com, Los Angeles
Jodi Kimura, who played Bloody Mary in the national tour, is magnetic as the brassy, manipulative street vendor. She adds a strain of malevolence to her line readings, giving her almost a demonic presence. --LA Drama Critics Circle
Jodi Kimura, furnishes laudable support as Bloody Mary. Kimura offers us a much more relaxed, honest and unaffected ’person’, and less of a caricature than “Mary” is all-too-commonly seen as. This doesn’t mean, however, that she doesn’t vocally bestow the goods where it counts though. Her interpretation of Bali Hai is full and seductive as the song should be, while her supposedly ‘upbeat’ second act ditty, Happy Talk (sung to a malaria-weakened Cable) has an intriguing tinge of
desperation. --Bucking Trends
As the local con woman, Jodi Kimura is a delightfully irascible and unexpectedly witty Bloody Mary. Kimura delivers a definitive recital of arguably the most noted song in the highly noted musical score, Bali Ha’i. Her performance haunts this writer as he types the review you’re now reading. --Beachcomber
2010 National Tour vet Jodi Kimura once again steals scenes as Bloody Mary and sings Bali Hai with the best of them.
South Pacific, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, FL:
Another highlight of the show was the adorably outrageous character of Bloody Mary performed by Jodi Kimura, a Helen Hayes nominee for the same role during the national tour. Initially seeming like more of a feisty car salesman than a singer, she peddeled her wares to soldiers before having her powerful voice mezmerize you when she sang Bali Hai, a call to her native island.
--South Florida Insider
Bloody Mary, played by Jodi Kimura, sings the ballad, Bali Hai, with an exotic, dreamy quality. Kimura knows how to play to the audience and she's the center of attention when on stage.
--Palm West Monthly
South Pacific, La Mirada, CA:
But it is Jodi Kimura's Bloody Mary that is a revelation; there's a simmering stew of disgust, anger, and desperation, combined with a mysterious merriment and weary wisdom that makes Happy Talk both playful and sad. Her exotic Bali Hai is a travelogue in itself.
Jodi Kimura's Bloody Mary is not only a ball of Tokinese fire, her Bali Hai is one for the ages as the South Pacific National Tour vet milks every laugh from lines like, "Stingy bastard," then unleashes hell on anyone who dares reject her daughter.
Other excellent supporting performances worth noting include the terrific Jodi Kimura as the scene-stealing Bloody Mary, the island's amusingly colorful but sharp go-to tradeswoman.
As a veteran of the theatre, Kimura garners a plethora of laughs by underscoring Mary with a no-nonesense, take-no-prisoners essence who isn't apprehensive about saying what is on her mind (ie: "stingy bastard") even with her limited English vocabulary. On the other hand, as the mother of the prepossessing and nubile Liat who mostly resides on the mystical island, Bali Hai, we see the softer, maternal side of Mary, who desires a better life for her daughter....particularly during the heart-rendering Happy Talk.
As the local con woman, Jodi Kimura is a delightfully irascible and unexpectedly witty Bloody Mary. Kimura delivers a definitive recital of arguably the most noted song in the highly noted musical score, Bali Hai.
Jodi Kimura perfectly embodies Bloody Mary, the island hustler and Liat's mother, portraying a crafty but desperate parent anxious to give her daughter a better life.
Jodi Kimura is...captivating, both to hear and see as the notorious Bloody Mary. Watching Kimura, it's clear she knows exactly who this woman is and what honestly motivates her. Her mischevious and quick with the one-liners are just a front to mask the deeper, more vital concerns...With a velvety voice reminiscent of the likes of Dinah Shore, Julie Wilson or Kaye Ballard, her execution of Bali Hai is nothing short of breathtaking--crisp and clear, but retaining enough of an ethereal, dreamy quality. In Happy Talk, Kimura judiciously goes deeper and endows each bouncy and blithe line with just the right shade of underlying desperation. This elevates the tune's stakes, transforming it from simply pleasant to something much more potent and poignant, and in the process, points toward just how sagacious Kimura's entire performance as Mary truly is.
MAMMA MIA, Sacramento Music Circus, CA:
Kimura steals the show with Take a Chance on Me. --BroadwayWorld.com
Kimura draws laughs from her depiction of an aging rocker, Rosie. --SacramentoPress.com
MAMMA MIA, Merry Go Round Playhouse, NY:
Jodi Kimura is a fabulous character actress. She gives her all to portray Rosie and has the audience laughing non-stop with every facial expression and comedic antic. Her number , Take a Chance on Me....is an audience favorite. --BroadwayWorld.com
Donna's gal pals and former bandmates are in fine comic form. As the far less stylish writer, Rosie, Jodi Kimura is hilarious, so genuine and natrually funny, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. --Ithaca.com
As Rosie, the chubby writer friend, Jodi Kimura seizes every humorous opportunity with a comic fierceness that is show-stopping from her bed-side encounters in Dancing Queen to her piece de resistance moment in Take A Chance On Me. --Syracuse.com