South Pacific at Lincoln Center

Nellie Forbush singing HoneyBun

I know you’ll be happy to hear that the parents’ trip to New York was capped yesterday afternoon by South Pacific, the musical revival on at Lincoln Center. I had seen parts of the movie before, and was looking forward to it. My dad, on the other hand, apparently has been idolizing the musical ever since his parents went up to New York to see the original production and left him behind. The music, the actors, the stage; he was in heaven.

Granted, South Pacific is a Rogers and Hammerstein classic from 1949 and generally considered one of the greatest musicals. The story is set in the South Pacific around a naval base during WWII, and the stories of nurse Nelly and Lieutenant Joe falling in love with people from the island inspire some classic Broadway songs, like Some Enchanted Evening and Happy Talk.

Lincoln Center’s production is the first time it has been back to Broadway and yet, judging from the audience, it might have been the second time many of them have seen it. It hasn’t changed much (from the movie version at least) and the production is flawless.

The musical itself has aged well: rather than being dated, it is charmingly vintage. The cast has been well-chosen for their parts, and the music of Rogers and Hammerstein is still a joy to hear. If you want to revisit some classic Broadway, this traditional and well-executed revival is a pleasant way to do it.

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