Thursday, March 27, 2008

Get Tickets To See South Pacific, sure to be a Tony Award Winning Musical in 2008

I had the great pleasure of seeing the first revival of the fantastic Rodgers and Hammerstein II classic "South Pacific" last night in The Lincoln Center Theatre production at The Vivian Beaumont Theater. And what a superb show it is, even after the 58 years since its debut on Broadway. The original show played at New York's Majestic Theater then moved to the Broadway Theater and ran for 5 years and 1925 performances.

South Pacific is a musical based on two short stories found in a book called Tales of the South Pacific, written by the extremely talented novelist James A. Michener. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for "fiction" in 1948 and the original musical won the Pulitzer Prize for "drama" in 1950. The action takes place on a South Pacific Island during World War II.

In the original Broadway staging of South Pacific, the show explored the difficult issues of racial prejudice in a very candid fashion for that time. Many long time Broadway theater-goers have said that this show is often considered to be "one of the greatest musicals ever".

Even though I, myself was born in 1956, I knew most of the songs in last night's musical. Some of the classics that you might be familiar with are "A Wonderful Guy", "Bali Ha'i", "Nothing Like a Dame", "Some Enchanted Evening", "Younger Than Springtime" and what seemed like close to 30 songs in all. The original show was nominated for 9 Tony Awards and "won them all", something that I don't think was ever done again for excellence in the theatre.

This version of South Pacific at The Vivian Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center holds up very nicely to the expectations I have often read about. The show stars Kelli O'Hara, most often remembered for her leading roles in A Light in the Piazza and The Pajama Game. Kelli portrays a Navy nurse, Ensign Nellie Forbush, a young girl from Little Rock, Arkansas now serving in the Navy, somewhere in the South Pacific.

Kelli's love interest is Emile de Becque, played by Paulo Szot. Mr. Szot is an internationally accomplished baritone having been seen in several New York City Opera productions including Le Nozze de Figaro, L'Elisir d'Amore and Carmen. Emile is a local plantation owner and he falls "head over heals" for Nellie.

Mary. Lt. Joe Cable, played very capably by Matthew Morrison, an American Navy officer falls for a local girl named Liat, the daughter of a local middle-aged Polynesian woman called BloodyBloody Mary "keeps the American G.I.s busy selling them grass skirts and other trinkets" that they can send back home to their girlfriends. The Americans are sorely missing home, not to mention a little "recreation", not having seen their loved ones for so long.

On stage we get to see dozens of locals from the island and many Navy personnel as well. I must make mention of the wonderful Scenic Design by Michael Yeargan ("it's worth the price of admission") just to see the fantastic way in which he re-creates his vision for what the surroundings were at the time. In addition, Catherine Zuber does a great job with Costume Design with special mentions for Lighting Design and Sound Design by Donald Holder and Scott Lehrer. Bartlett Sher is the director of this first time revival of South Pacific and he does a superb job at giving us "just the right feel" for what was taking place at the time over 50 years ago.

I've been in the Broadway industry my entire career, having seen several hundred Broadway productions. This beautiful production of South Pacific is coming to Broadway at "just the right time". Many new shows have opened over the past several months, mostly to mixed reviews. I often don't share the views of New York critics and my guess is that they'll have their own interpretation of what takes place on stage when the show opens to reviews on April 3, 2008. For my opinion, although I tend to enjoy most Broadway shows that I get the opportunity to see, I really feel that this revival of South Pacific very capably captures the story about 2 different personal relationships that deal with people of different racial backgrounds as well as the general feeling for what our military people go through emotionally, as well as how "local people" are affected by their presence on native island.

When you are ready to get tickets for an amazing Broadway show, treat yourself to tickets for South Pacific. I'm so glad I got a chance to see Kelli O'Hara and Paulo Szot in this show and am certain you'll be glad you got the chance as well.

Applause Theatre Service has been in the business of supplying the theatre-going public with the best seats for the best shows at the best prices for over 21 years now. People you can trust. People who know how to serve other people. Remember to ask the Applause experts about any dining suggestions you may need before going to the theatre to see South Pacific.

Enjoy this show. When you do, drop me a line at or give me a call at 212-307-7050 or 1-800-451-9930 and let me know what you think also.

Rich Gladstone
Vice President/Owner
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service Inc.
311 west 43rd street, suite 601
New York, New York 10036
web site:

No comments:

Post a Comment