South Pacific is generally considered to be one of the greatest musicals in history. Several of its songs, including "Bali Ha'i," "Some Enchanted Evening," "Happy Talk", "Younger than Springtime" and "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" have become worldwide standards. The Broadway production of South Pacific was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won all of them, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Libretto. It was the only musical production ever to win all four Tony Awards for acting. The show was a critical and box office hit and has since enjoyed many successful revivals and tours and spawned a 1958 film and other adaptations.
About South Pacific musical
South Pacific is a 1949 musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The story draws from James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, 1948 novel, Tales of the South Pacific, weaving together characters and elements from several of its stories into a single plotline. The musical won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. The issue of racial prejudice was sensitively and candidly explored, particularly for the 1949 stage work.
The first Broadway revival of South Pacific began previews on March 1, 2008, with an official opening on April 3 at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre. It was directed by Bartlett Sher, with musical staging by Christopher Gattelli and associate choreographer Joe Langworth. Kelli O’Hara played Nellie Forbush, Paulo Szot played Emile de Becque, and Matthew Morrison played Lt. Cable; Danny Burstein and Loretta Ables Sayre also appeared. Among the favorable reviews for this production, Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times: “I know we’re not supposed to expect perfection in this imperfect world, but I’m darned if I can find one serious flaw in this production. (Yes, the second act remains weaker than the first, but Mr. Sher almost makes you forget that.) All of the supporting performances, including those of the ensemble, feel precisely individualized, right down to how they wear Catherine Zuber’s carefully researched period costumes.” The revival won five Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical Revival and garnered 11 Tony nominations, including best revival, director, choreographer, all four acting categories and all four design categories. It won best revival and six other Tonys. The late Robert Russell Bennett was recognized for “his historic contribution to American musical theatre in the field of orchestrations, as represented on Broadway this season by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.”
A U.S. national tour based on the 2008 Broadway revival began in San Francisco, California at the Golden Gate Theatre on September 18, 2009. Bartlett Sher directed. The cast included Rod Gilfry (Emile de Becque), Carmen Cusack (Nellie Forbush), Anderson Davis (Lt. Cable), Matthew Saldivar (Luther Billis), Keala Settle (Bloody Mary), and Sumie Maeda (Liat).