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After the show, Emile asks Nellie to reconsider. She insists that she cannot feel the same way about him since she knows about his children's Polynesian mother. Frustrated and uncomprehending, Emile asks Cable why he and Nellie have such prejudices. Cable, filled with self-loathing, replies that "it's not something you're born with", yet it is an ingrained part of their upbringing " You've Got to Be Carefully Taught ". He also vows that if he gets out of the war alive, he won't go home to the United States; everything he wants is on these islands.
Emile imagines what might have been "This Nearly Was Mine". Dejected and feeling that he has nothing to lose, he agrees to join Cable on his dangerous mission. The mission begins with plenty of air support. Offstage, Billis stows away on the plane, falls out when the plane is hit by anti-aircraft fire, and ends up in the ocean waiting to be rescued; the massive rescue operation inadvertently becomes a diversion that allows Emile and Cable to land on the other side of the island undetected.
The two send back reports on Japanese ships' movements in the "Slot", a strategic strait; American aircraft intercept and destroy the Japanese ships. Nellie learns of Cable's death and that Emile is missing. She realizes that she was foolish to reject Emile because of the race of his children's mother. Cable and Emile's espionage work has made it possible for a major offensive, Operation Alligator , to begin.
The previously idle fighting men, including Billis, go off to battle. Nellie spends time with Jerome and Ngana and soon comes to love them. While the children are teaching her to sing "Dites-Moi," suddenly Emile's voice joins them. Emile has returned to discover that Nellie has overcome her prejudices and has fallen in love with his children. Emile, Nellie and the children rejoice "Dites-Moi" reprise.
A number of songs were extensively modified or omitted in the weeks leading up to the initial Broadway opening. They are listed in the order of their one-time placement within the show:. The first Australian production opened in September at His Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne, playing for 10 months and performances. It then played seasons in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide until late , before returning to Melbourne for a further season. It was directed by Charles Atkin, and had costumes by Motley and sets by Mielziner. There have been many stock or summer revivals of South Pacific.
Nellie's pronouncement that she was from Little Rock was initially met with boos. Logan refused to allow Nellie's hometown to be changed, so a speech was made before each performance asking for the audience's forbearance, which was forthcoming. There were two revivals at Lincoln Center. Richard Rodgers produced the revival, which starred Florence Henderson and Giorgio Tozzi , who had been Rossano Brazzi 's singing voice in the film.
A new production with slight revisions to the book and score was produced by the Royal National Theatre at the company's Olivier Theatre in London for a limited run from December through April , timed to celebrate the centenary of Richard Rodgers' birth. The tour ended at the Cardiff New Theatre on July 19, This production was most noted for its staging of the overture, which charted Nellie's journey from Little Rock, Arkansas , to the South Pacific.
On entering the theatre, the audience first saw a map of the U. Bartlett Sher directed, with musical staging by Christopher Gattelli and associate choreographer Joe Langworth. With a few exceptions, the production received rave reviews. 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. A production based on the Broadway revival opened at the Barbican Theatre in London on August 15, and closed on October 1, The production received mostly positive reviews.
K tour followed, with Womack, Ables Sayre and Ferns. Reviewers gave the original production uniformly glowing reviews; one critic called it "South Terrific". The new and much-heralded musical, South Pacific , is a show of rare enchantment. It is novel in texture and treatment, rich in dramatic substance, and eloquent in song, a musical play to be cherished.
Under Logan's superb direction, the action shifts with constant fluency. The occasional dances appear to be magical improvisations. It is a long and prodigal entertainment, but it seems all too short. The Rodgers music is not his finest, but it fits the mood and pace of South Pacific so felicitously that one does not miss a series of hit tunes.
In the same way the lyrics are part and parcel of a captivating musical unity. It boasts no ballets and no hot hoofing. It has no chorus in the conventional sense. Every one in it plays a part. It is likely to establish a new trend in musicals. Pinza's bass voice is the most beautiful that has been heard on a Broadway stage for an eon or two. Hers is a completely irresistible performance. When South Pacific opened in London in November , the reviews were mixed.
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London's Daily Express praised the music but disliked other elements of that show, writing, "We got a 42nd Street Madame Butterfly , the weakest of all the Hammerstein-Rodgers musicals. I have nothing to do but thank Logan, Rodgers and Hammerstein and climb up from my knees, a little cramped from the effort of typing in such an unusual position. A review asserted: At its State Theater revival, the show struck many as dated.
I have to let people know the war wasn't a musical. People were so eager to obtain tickets that the press wrote about the lengths people had gone to in getting them. However, the parties who provided the scalpers with the tickets were never identified, and the show ran without interference. Rodgers became the first composer of musical comedy to win the Pulitzer, as composer George Gershwin had not been recognized for Of Thee I Sing. The late Robert Russell Bennett was also honored that season 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.
Part of the reason why South Pacific is considered a classic is its confrontation of racism. Andrea Most, writing on the "politics of race" in South Pacific , suggests that in the late s, American liberals, such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, turned to the fight for racial equality as a practical means of advancing their progressive views without risking being deemed communists. From the early drafts, Hammerstein and Logan made the issue of racial prejudice central to the story. Hammerstein repeatedly rewrote the Act II backstage scene where Emile, Nellie and Cable confront the question of the Americans' racism.
Lovensheimer states that a postwar American audience would have found such onstage sentiments to be offensive. In the staged version, Emile's expressions are limited to two lines arguing that prejudice is not inborn. At the heart of this scene is Cable's song " You've Got to Be Carefully Taught ", in which Cable realizes the sources of his own racism.
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Its frank lyrics made it perhaps the most controversial element of the show. When Michener told Hammerstein, he laughed and replied, "That's what the show is about! Judging by the letters that remain among his papers in the Library of Congress , the reaction was mixed. One correspondent wrote "What can I say to a man who writes, 'You've got to be taught to hate and fear?
Now that I know you, I feel that my informants didn't praise you enough. When the tour of the show reached a racially segregated theatre in Wilmington, Delaware , Rodgers and Hammerstein threatened to cancel the performances there unless seating was integrated, which it was. Two Georgia state legislators, Senator John D. Shepard and Representative David C.
Jones, objected to the song, stating that though South Pacific was a fine piece of entertainment, that song "contained an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow", and explained, "Intermarriage produces half-breeds. And half-breeds are not conducive to the higher type of society. In the South, we have pure blood lines and we intend to keep it that way.
The Northern press had a field day; Hammerstein, when asked for comment, responded that he did not think the legislators were representing their constituents very well, and that he was surprised at the suggestion that anything kind and decent must necessarily originate in Moscow. In so doing, Nellie fails to live up to the American ideal that "all men are created equal", which Emile had earlier affirmed.
This pronouncement, which makes Nellie less sympathetic as a character, was restored for the Lincoln Center production. But how can we love a racist? Nellie Forbush, in her journey from Little Rock, Arkansas, to serving as a Navy nurse and on to the domesticity of the final scene of South Pacific , parallels the experience of many American women of the period. They entered the workforce during the war, only to find afterwards a societal expectation that they give up their jobs to men, with their best route to financial security being marriage and becoming a housewife.
The male characters in South Pacific are intended to appear conventionally masculine. In the aftermath of World War II, the masculinity of the American soldier was beyond public question. Cable's virility with Liat is made evident to the audience. Although Billis operates a laundry — Nellie particularly praises his pleats — and appears in a grass skirt in the "Thanksgiving Follies", these acts are consistent with his desire for money and are clearly intended to be comic. His interest in the young women on Bali H'ai establishes his masculinity. Meryle Secrest, in her biography of Rodgers, theorizes that South Pacific marks a transition for the pair "between heroes and heroines who are more or less evenly matched in age and stories about powerful older men and the younger women who are attracted to them".
He believes a different transition took place: He notes that both Oklahoma! Lovensheimer deems Allegro to be a transition, where the attempts of the lead female character to alter her husband Joe's world to suit her ambition lead to the breakup of their marriage. He argues that the nurse Emily, who goes with Joe in his return to the small town where he was happy, is a forerunner of Nellie, uprooting her life in Chicago for Joe. Secrest notes that much is overlooked in the rush to have love conquer all in South Pacific , "questions of the long-term survival of a marriage between a sophisticate who read Proust at bedtime and a girl who liked Dinah Shore and did not read anything were raised by Nellie Forbush only to be brushed aside.
As for the interracial complexities of raising two Polynesian children, all such issues were subsumed in the general euphoria of true love. A mammoth hit, South Pacific sparked huge media and public attention. South Pacific was one of the first shows for which a variety of souvenirs were available: Fake ticket stubs could be purchased for use as status symbols. The cast album, recorded ten days after the show's opening, was an immediate hit.
Released by Columbia Records , it spent 69 weeks at 1 on Billboard and a total of weeks on the charts, becoming the best-selling record of the s. In the years to come, the LP would become the medium of choice for the "longhair" music niche of show, opera and classical performances.
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An indirect effect of the success of the show was the career of James Michener. His one percent of the show as author of the source material, plus the income from a share which the duo allowed him to buy on credit, made him financially independent and allowed him to quit his job as an editor at Macmillan and to become a full-time writer.
The role of Nellie Forbush was the first time with Hammerstein that Rodgers made the leading female role a belter , rather than a lyric soprano like Laurey in Oklahoma! Nellie does not sing together with Emile, because Rodgers promised Martin that she would not have to compete vocally with Pinza, [n 6] but the composer sought to unite them in the underlying music.
Considered as pitch classes, that is, as pitches without characterization by octave or register, the motif is C-B-A-G.
It will be heard repeatedly in Nellie's music, or in the music such as "Twin Soliloquies" that she shares with Emile, and even in the bridge of "Some Enchanted Evening". Originally, "Twin Soliloquies" came to an end shortly after the vocal part finishes. Logan found this unsatisfying and worked with Trude Rittmann to find a better ending to the song. This piece of music, dubbed "Unspoken Thoughts", continues the music as Nellie and Emile sip brandy together, and is called by Lovensheimer "the one truly operatic moment of the score".
Hyland as "one of his finest efforts". The song ends an octave higher than where it began, making it perfect for Pinza's voice. In the former, the triple recitation of the song title at intervals suggests a big band arrangement of the wartime era, while in the bridge, the final eight bars repeating the lyrics from the bridge's first eight bars gives a suggestion of swing.
The sections beginning "If the man don't understand you" and "If you laugh at different comics" have a blues style. Lovensheimer deems the song "Nellie's spontaneous and improvisatory expression of her feelings through the vocabulary of popular song". Columbia Records recorded the overture and most of the songs from the original production in , using members of the cast including Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin. Drawing from the original lacquer disc masters, Columbia released the album in both the new LP format and on rpm discs.
Soon after Sony acquired Columbia in , a CD was released from the previously unused magnetic tape recording from the same sessions in New York City. According to critic John Kenrick , the original cast recording "is the rare stuff that lasting legends are made of", an essential classic. According to Kenrick, "Every track of this Lincoln Center cast recording is such a winner that you can't help wondering why it took so long for this winner to make its way to CD.
Emile's music was transposed to fit Carreras's tenor voice. Stephen Holden reviewed the album in The New York Times , "the star of this South Pacific isn't any individual, but rather the score itself". The album includes the cut song, "Now Is the Time". While Kenrick allows that most critics like the recording, he finds it a waste of money. South Pacific was made into a film of the same name in , and it topped the box office that year. The film opened with Cable's flight to the island in a PBY , followed by the Seabees' beach scene, and added Billis' rescue and scenes from the mission to spy on the Japanese.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Sound. The film was widely criticized for its use of color to indicate mood, with actors changing color as they began to sing. The movie was the third-highest-grossing film in the U. The last half-hour of the film features scenes of war, including shots of segregated troops. Close, lean and more mature, hints that a touch of desperation lies in Nellie's cockeyed optimism.
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Glenn Close is up to the material, but her supporting cast is uniformly disastrous. A pointless and offensive waste of money, time and talent. A concert version of the musical, edited down to two hours, but including all of the songs and the full musical score, was presented at Carnegie Hall. Luke's directed by Paul Gemignani. The New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote, "Open-voiced and open-faced, Reba McEntire was born to play Nellie"; the production was received "in a state of nearly unconditional rapture.
It was one of those nights when cynicism didn't stand a chance. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Broadway musical. For the film, see South Pacific film. Tales of the South Pacific. List of awards and nominations for the musical South Pacific. South Pacific film and South Pacific film.
This is consistent with Michener's novel, which takes place in the New Hebrides Vanuatu. As part of Melanesia , its native inhabitants are black-skinned, and Michener repeatedly refers to the island natives as "black". Music" , The Advocate , Victoria, Australia, vol. Records" , Goulburn Evening Post , p. Retrieved 24 March South Pacific Archived at the Wayback Machine. Opening Night on Broadway: Schirmer Books, New York, The Times , November 2, , p. Journal of American Studies , Vol. The Richard Rodgers Reader. Oxford University Press US , Royal National Theatre , University of Oklahoma Press, Getting to Know Him: Da Capo Press, reprint of edition.
Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Da Capo Press, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia.
Greenwood Publishing Group, Yale University Press, Oxford University Press, The South Pacific Companion. University Press of Florida, Bantam Books, paperback edition of publication. The World is My Home: The Broadway Musical in the s. The politics of race in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific ".
Theatre Journal , Vol. The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Applause Theatre and Cinema Books,