Tuesday, October 20, 2009

South Pacific On Broadway - What A Show!

Last week my partner and I spent a few days in New York City after the National Equality March. We were lucky to get tickets for the revival of South Pacific, the Rogers and Hammerstein classic about love, war and racial prejudice set on a military base.

The venue of the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center is an amazing place to see this big a production. The theater is a thrust stage with seating on three sides, more suited to intimate plays than big musicals, yet this production uses hat intimacy to its advantage.

Actors who might normally play their roles more broadly on a big theater stage can lend more subtle touches in the Beaumont and it works well in this show. The orchestra, a big ensemble for such a small venue was lush and forceful without overwhelming the action on the stage.

For me Paulo Szot in the role of Emile de Becque was a revelation. I had always associated the role with Rossano Brazzi in the 1950s movie of the show, but Szot gives de Becque character real depth. His singing brought me to tears along with much of the audience. What a telant!

Kelli O'Hara as Nelly Forbush is spot on with her accent, so much that my partner thought she was actually from Arkansas. An this girl can sing!

Finally, Danny Burstein was a real audience favorite as Luther Billis. The Billis character has several great songs, and a real chance to show the actors comic talents in the "Honey Bun" drag number.

This South Pacific is timeless, and if you get a chance to see it, don't pass it up.

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