Thursday, April 03, 2008

South Pacific: Some Enchanted Opening Night

South Pacific: Some Enchanted Opening Night

Almost exactly 59 years to the day after Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's landmark South Pacific first opened at Broadway's Majestic Theatre -- and a little more than 54 years after that same production closed at the Broadway Theatre -- the classic World War II musical based on James Michener's "Tales Of The South Pacific" is finally set to open again on a Great White Way stage.

Directed by Bartlett Sher, the first-ever revival of South Pacific stars Broadway's current leading lady Kelli O'Hara as Ensign Nellie Forbush and opera's Paulo Szot as Emile De Beque. Other castmembers include Matthew Morrison as Lt. Joseph Cable, Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary, Danny Burstein as Luther Billis and Li Jun Li as Liat.

Back when South Pacific first appeared a scant four years after World War II was won, it was revolutionary in its dignified depiction of mixed race couples, as well as in its revulsion over bigotry. The musical would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize and ten Tony Awards, including for Best Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (Mary Martin) and Best Actor in a Musical (Ezio Pinza).

Will critics want to wash this show right off of Broadway or will they provide some happy talk? Find out tomorrow as I provide my critics' capsule, along with my own SOB Review. Given that The New York Times' Ben Brantley attended the same performance I saw, I'll be very interested to compare notes.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Is Johansson's South Pacific Journey Just Happy Talk? (March 14, 2007)
Will Broadway's First-Ever South Pacific Revival Provide Some Enchanted Evenings? (December 19, 2006)

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