Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

South Pacific

A Rogers and Hammerstein classic - South Pacific - is now playing at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre. Revived in grand style, this musical set on two islands in the Pacific Ocean during WWII boasts a full 30 piece orchestra as created for the original Broadway run in 1949 (virtually unheard of!) two superb leading actors and a robust supporting cast.

Kelly O'Hara (Light in the Piazza, The Pajama Game, Sweet Smell of Success) takes the helm as Ensign Nellie Forbush and Paulo Szot, a Brazilian native, as Emile de Becque. The chemistry between the two was completely natural and unforced. Matthew Morrison (Light in the Piazza, Hairspray, Ten Million Miles) played the young, troubled Lieutenant Joseph Cable and proved once again that his vocal skills are top notch (as was his often shirtless character). Danny Burstein (The Drowsy Chaperone, The Boys from Syracuse) took Luther Billis to another level - comedic and macho, yet tender and caring. With over 40 actors in the cast it's hard to mention them all.

Tune after tune seems to bring you back to something from your past. I heard everyone around me humming the tunes and fondly remembering yet another classic melody. Of special note, at the Overture, Entr'Acte and Finale Ultimo - the floor of the horseshoe shaped stage at the Beaumont pulled back to fully reveal the faces behind the music. Conductor Ted Sperling received rousing applause each time.

With such tunes as Some Enchanted Evening, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Bali Ha'i, I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa My Hair, Happy Talk, and You've Got to be Carefully Taught - you can't go wrong. With the grander and prestige of Lincoln Center behind you - this just might be the "Best Musical Revival of the Year". We'll have to wait until June to find our for sure. In the meantime, set sail for 66th and Columbus for a premium voyage!