South Pacific (musical): Wikis


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South Pacific
South pacific bway 1949.jpg
Original Cast Recording
Music Richard Rodgers
Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II
Book Oscar Hammerstein II
Joshua Logan
Basis Tales of the South Pacific
by James A. Michener
Productions 1949 Broadway
1950 US tour
1951 West End
1958 Film version
2001 U.S. Television
2001 West End revival
2005 Carnegie Hall Concert
2008 Broadway revival
2009 US tour
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Original Score
Tony Award for Best Author
Tony Award for Best Revival of a 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.

South Pacific is generally considered to be one of the greatest musicals in history.[1][2] 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.



Director Joshua Logan, a World War II veteran, read Michener's Tales of the South Pacific and decided to adapt it for the stage or screen. He and producer Leland Hayward arranged to purchase the rights for the work from Michener; they also asked Richard Rodgers to compose music for the work and Oscar Hammerstein II to write lyrics and the libretto. Hayward would produce, and Logan would serve as director and producer. Rodgers and Hammerstein accepted, and they began transforming the short stories "Fo' Dolla" and "Our Heroine" into a unified tale. Since both stories were serious in tone, Michener agreed to include a third story about Luther Billis, a womanizing sailor.[3]

During this time, the team received a telephone call from Edwin Lester of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. He had signed Metropolitan Opera star Ezio Pinza for a new musical, but the musical fell through and, according to his contract, Pinza had to be paid $25,000 regardless of whether he actually performed. Lester was searching for a new vehicle for Pinza, and Rodgers and Hammerstein eagerly signed Pinza to play Emile De Becque, the male lead. Hammerstein had been particularly inspired by Mary Martin, wearing a gingham dress in the last scene of One Touch of Venus and he wanted her to play Nellie Forbush, the female lead. Martin was playing Annie Oakley in the touring company of Annie Get Your Gun, but after Rodgers and Hammerstein auditioned three songs, "A Cockeyed Optimist", "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Twin Soliloquies", for Martin and her husband, Richard Halliday, she accepted the role.[4].

Hammerstein, according to the contract, was to write both the lyrics and libretto. However, he knew very little about the U.S. Navy in World War II or about Nellie's Southern dialect and culture. Rodgers asked Logan to help Hammerstein with the libretto and Logan helped Hammerstein write the book, asking to be credited as co-author. Hammerstein agreed to give Logan credit as co-author of the libretto, but added, "Of course, it goes without saying that you won't get anything whatsoever of the author's royalties."[3]


Original Broadway production

After out-of-town tryouts in New Haven and Boston in March 1949, South Pacific opened on Broadway on April 7, 1949, at the Majestic Theatre, moving to the Broadway Theatre in June 1953. It was produced by Rodgers and Hammerstein in association with Leland Hayward and Joshua Logan, with direction and musical staging by Logan. The production ran for more than five years. At the time it closed on January 16, 1954, after 1,925 performances, it was the fifth-longest running show in Broadway history.[5] The original cast featured Mary Martin as Nellie Forbush and opera star Ezio Pinza, as Emile de Becque. Also in the cast were Juanita Hall and Myron McCormick (both of whom won Tony Awards for their performances),Martin Wolfson, and Betta St. John.

Although Forbush and de Becque were already fully developed characters in Michener's stories, at some point during the creation of South Pacific, Rodgers, Hammerstein, and Logan began to adapt the roles specifically to the talents of Martin and Pinza and to tailor the music for their voices.[6] The production won ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Libretto, Best Director and all four acting awards. In June 1951 Martin was replaced by Martha Wright, who performed the role for production's remaining 1,047 performances. George Britton took over the role of Emile de Becque in January 1952, playing the role opposite Martin until the show closed in January 1954.[7][8] Cloris Leachman played the role for four weeks on Broadway after she impressed Logan, Rodgers, and Hammerstein while auditioning for the lead as a replacement in the national tour.

U.S. tour, 1950-1955

A U.S. tour ran for almost five years in 118 cities from April 1950 through March 26, 1955.[9] Janet Blair starred as Nellie Forbush, followed by Jeanne Bal and Iva Withers. Emile de Becque was played by Richard Eastham, Webb Tilton, and Alan Gerard.[10]

Original West End production

London's West End production ran from November 1, 1951 to 1953, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It was directed by Joshua Logan and starred Mary Martin and Wilbur Evans and featured Ray Walston (Luther), Muriel Smith (Bloody Mary), Peter Grant (Joe Cable), and Ivor Emmanuel (Sgt. Johnson). Mary Martin was replaced during the run by Julie Wilson. [11]

1988 West End revival

This revival starred Gemma Craven, who was supported by Emile Belcourt, Bertice Reading, and Johnny Wade, and was directed by Roger Redfern. It ran at the Prince of Wales Theatre from January 20, 1988 to January 14, 1989.[12]

2001 West End revival

The Royal National Theatre (Olivier Theatre) in London staged a limited run of the musical from December 2001 through April 2002, timed to celebrate the centenary of Richard Rodgers' birth. This production was directed by Trevor Nunn, with musical staging by Matthew Bourne and designs by John Napier. Nellie was performed by Lauren Kennedy and Emile was performed by the Australian actor Philip Quast.[13]

A film of this production can be viewed at the V&A Theatre Collections reading room at Blythe House in Olympia, London.[14]

2005 Carnegie Hall concert
Baldwin, McEntire, and Mitchell, 2005 concert DVD cover

On June 9, 2005, a concert version of the musical, edited down to two hours, but including all of the songs and the full musical score, was presented live at Carnegie Hall. It starred Reba McEntire as Nellie Forbush, Brian Stokes Mitchell as Emile, Alec Baldwin as Luther Billis, and Lillias White as Bloody Mary, with a full supporting cast. The production used Robert Russell Bennett's original orchestrations, with the Orchestra of St. Luke's directed by Paul Gemignani. This production was taped and telecast by PBS on April 26, 2006. The DVD of this performance was released the spring of the following year. New York Times drama critic Ben Brantley wrote, "Open-voiced and open-faced, Reba McEntire was born to play Nellie," and that the entire production was performed "in a state of nearly unconditional rapture. It was one of those nights when cynicism didn’t stand a chance."[15]

2007-08 UK tour

A major new touring production of South Pacific opened in the UK at the Blackpool Grand Theatre on August 28, 2007. The tour was expected to finish at the Cardiff New Theatre in July 2008. The tour stars Helena Blackman as Nellie and Dave Willetts as Emile. The tour is produced by Peter Frosdick and Martin Dodd for UK Productions. The production is directed by Julian Woolford, with choreography by Chris Hocking. This production was most noted for its staging of the overture, which charted Nellie's journey from Little Rock to the South Pacific. On entering the theatre, the audience first saw a map of the U.S., not the theater of war.[16]

2008 Broadway revival

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.[17]

Although some critics were mixed on the performances of O'Hara, Szot and Morrison, the production received mostly rave reviews.[18] 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."[19]

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."[20]

The show will close on August 22, 2010 after 37 previews and 1,000 regular performances.[21]

2009 U.S. Tour

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). [22]



Act I

On a South Pacific island during World War II, two half-Melanesian children, Ngana and Jerome, happily sing as they play together ("Dites-Moi"). Ensign Nellie Forbush, a naive U.S. Navy nurse from Little Rock, Arkansas has fallen in love with Emile de Becque, a middle-aged French plantation owner, though she has only known him for a short time. Even though everyone else is worried about the outcome of the war, Nellie explains to Emile that she is sure everything will turn out all right ("Cockeyed Optimist"). She and Emile are in love, but neither has told the other how they feel. Each wonders if the other reciprocates his feelings ("Twin Soliloquies"). Emile then expresses his feelings for Nellie, recalling how they met at the officers' club dance, and instantly were attracted to each other ("Some Enchanted Evening"). Nellie returns to the hospital for work and Emile calls Ngana and Jerome to him, revealing to the audience that they are his children, unbeknownst to Nellie.

Meanwhile, the restless American sailors, led by the lovable Luther Billis, lament the absence of women or combat to relieve their boredom—especially the former. Navy nurses are commissioned officers - off-limits to enlisted men. There is one non-Navy woman on the island, a middle-aged Tonkinese grass skirt seller, nicknamed "Bloody Mary". and as there are no other women, the sailors make sarcastic overtures to her ("Bloody Mary"). Billis wants to go to the nearby island of Bali Ha'i (which is off-limits to all but officers), not only for the women, but because he seems genuinely interested in the native culture. None of the other sailors believe the latter, but it becomes obvious later in the musical. Billis and the sailors lament the lack of female company ("There ain't Nothin' Like a Dame").

U.S. Marine Lieutenant Joe Cable arrives on the island from Guadacanal. He has been sent to take part in a dangerous spy mission that might help turn the tide of the war against Japan. Bloody Mary shows interest in him—it appears she is in love with him. She tries to persuade him to come to her native island ("Bali H'ai").

After thinking a bit more about Emile and the life they would have on the island, Nellie tells the other nurses that she intends to break up with him ("I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair"). But she meets Emile unexpectedly and realizes that she still loves him. He invites her to a party he has set up for the purpose of introducing her to all of his friends, and his children. Nellie eagerly accepts and after Emile leaves, she declares her love for him ("I'm In Love With A Wonderful Guy").

Cable's mission is to land on a Japanese-held island and report on Japanese ship movements. The Navy wants Emile to be his guide, as he has lived on that island. But Emile refuses, refuses due to his love for Nellie and feelings of alienation from others.

Captain Brackett, the commanding officer, tells Cable to go on leave until the mission can take place. Billis convinces Lt. Cable to take him to Bali Ha'i. There, Billis participates in a native manhood ritual, while Bloody Mary introduces Cable to Liat, a beautiful young girl. Cable becomes infatuated with Liat and takes her to bed, seemingly thinking she is a prostitute. Cable expresses his feelings ("Younger Than Springtime"). Liat reveals that Bloody Mary is, in fact, her mother. This explains Bloody Mary's interest in Cable: she thought he would make a good husband for Liat. Her plan shows promise, as Cable and Liat have quickly fallen in love. The two couples, Nellie and Emile, along with Liat and Cable, deepen their affection, and Emile and Nellie become engaged.

But their evening together takes a surprising turn when Emile introduces Nellie to Jerome and Ngana, his children by a native woman. Nellie, in spite of her caring nature, has deep-seated racial feelings as a result of her upbringing, and is particularly upset to think of Emile married to a dark-skinned woman. Tearful, she breaks off the engagement and leaves him.

Act II

As Liat and Cable spend more time together, Bloody Mary is delighted. She encourages them to continue their carefree life on the island ("Happy Talk"), and urges them to get married. But Cable has strong racial concerns, and says he cannot marry a Tonkinese girl. Cable gives Liat the watch his father carried in World War I. Bloody Mary is furious, breaks the watch, and drags her distraught daughter away, saying she must marry another, older man. Cable no longer finds Liat so charming ("Younger Than Springtime" (reprise)). Though aware and ashamed of their bigotry, Nellie and Cable are prisoners of their upbringings; they think they have no options. As Cable explains to Nellie, he is a graduate of Princeton University, and heir to an established family firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Nellie is occupied with planning a Thanksgiving show for the sailors. She is so upset about the end of her romance with Emile that she has to leave rehearsals, and almost cancels the show. But Captain Brackett tells her to fulfill her responsibilities, and she goes through with it after all. She does a comedy turn dressed as a sailor singing the praises of "his" sweetheart ("Honey Bun"). Billis plays Honey Bun, dressed in a blonde wig, grass skirt, and coconut-shell bra. Backstage, Emile brings flowers for Nellie, but Billis, who has feelings for Nellie himself, knows what is going on and tells Emile that Nellie has been so upset that she shouldn't see him. Billis takes the flowers and later gives them to Nellie. She kisses him, which he had been longing for, but Billis reluctantly admits that the flowers are from Emile.

Emile, who still loves Nellie in spite of everything, asks Cable why he and Nellie have such prejudices. Cable has realised he still loves Liat, having not been able to stop thinking about her since returning from Bali H'ai. He, resentfully replies that "it's not something you're born with, it's the way you're brought up" ("Carefully Taught"). Cable is beginning to break away from these feelings. Emile imagines what might have been, lamenting his refused marriage proposal ("This Nearly Was Mine"). Dejected and with nothing to lose, Emile agrees to join Cable on his dangerous mission. The two send back reports on Japanese ships moving along the "Slot"; American aircraft intercept and destroy the Japanese ships. Japanese Zeros strafe their position, killing Cable. Emile narrowly escapes.[23]

A major offensive, "Operation Alligator," gets underway and the previously idle sailors, including Billis, go off to battle. Meanwhile, Nellie learns of Cable's death, and that Emile is missing. She is distraught, and decides that if Emile returns, she will marry him, mixed-race children or not. She throws off her prejudices and spends time with Jerome and Ngana. Emile returns home, to the now-understanding Nellie and his—soon to be their—children, and they rejoice ("Dites-Moi" (reprise)).


Act I
  • Overture - Orchestra
  • Dites-Moi - Ngana and Jerome
  • A Cockeyed Optimist - Nellie
  • Twin Soliloquies - Nellie and Emile
  • Some Enchanted Evening - Emile
  • Dites-Moi (Reprise) - Ngana and Jerome
  • Bloody Mary - Sailors, Seabees, and Marines
  • There Is Nothing Like a Dame - Sailors, Seabees, and Marines
  • Bali Ha'i - Bloody Mary, Billis, and Cable
  • I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair - Nellie and Nurses
  • Some Enchanted Evening (Reprise) - Emile and Nellie
  • I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy - Nellie and Nurses
  • Bali Ha'i (Reprise) - French Girls
  • Younger Than Springtime - Cable
  • Bali Ha'i (Reprise) - French Girl
  • A Wonderful Guy (Reprise) - Nellie and Emile
  • Twin Soliloquies (Reprise) - Nellie and Emile
  • A Cockeyed Optimist (Reprise) - Emile and Nellie
  • I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair (Reprise) - Emile
  • Finale: Act I (Some Enchanted Evening) - Emile
Act II
  • Entr'acte - Orchestra
  • Happy Talk - Bloody Mary
  • Younger Than Springtime (Reprise) - Cable
  • Honey Bun - Nellie and Girls
  • You've Got to Be Carefully Taught - Cable
  • This Nearly Was Mine - Emile
  • A Wonderful Guy (Reprise) - Nurses
  • Some Enchanted Evening (Reprise) - Nellie
  • Honey Bun (Reprise) - Sailors, Seabees, and Marines
  • Finale (Dites-Moi) - Nellie, Ngana, Jerome, and Emile
Additional songs
  • "Loneliness of Evening" - sung by Emile, was in the original score but was cut before the first Broadway production. It is, however, an instrumental on some LP versions and was also sung by the Prince (Stuart Damon) in the 1965 production of Cinderella.
  • "My Girl Back Home" - sung by Lieutenant Cable, was in the original score but was cut before the first Broadway production. It is on some LP versions and is in the movie version. It has been re-instated for the 2008 Broadway revival.
  • "Bright Canary Yellow" - sung by Nellie and Emile, was included in the earlier version between "Dites-Moi" and "A Cockeyed Optimist".
  • "Bloody Mary (Reprise)" - sung by Sailors, Seabees, and Marines, was included in the original libretto after "Bloody Mary" but was later cut.
  • "Now Is the Time" § - sung by Emile, was later replaced by "Some Enchanted Evening (Reprise)". This song was included in the 2002 London revival of the musical.
  • "Will You Marry Me?" - sung by Emile, replacing the cut song "Now Is the Time", which, in turn, was replaced by "Some Enchanted Evening" (Reprise). "Will You Marry Me?" was re-used in the 1955 musical Pipe Dream.
  • "Suddenly Lovely" § - sung by Cable, was replaced by "Younger Than Springtime". The melody of this song was eventually re-used in "Getting To Know You" when Rodgers and Hammerstein were writing The King and I.
  • "Now Is the Time (Reprise)" § - sung by Emile and Cable, was cut in favor of "This Nearly Was Mine".
  • Some LP versions feature a track of Ezio Pinza singing "Bali Ha'i", but he did not sing it in the stage version; neither was it written for his character (Emile). "Loneliness of Evening" and "My Girl Back Home" were recorded by Mary Martin, backed by Percy Faith's Orchestra, and released as a single in 1951. On some later CD versions of the cast album these two songs are included as bonus tracks along with Pinza's "Bali Ha'i".

§[24] Rodgers and Hammerstein discussed with Michener the possibility of removing the song "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" because of its biting comments about racial prejudice, but Michener replied that if they dropped the song, they would be eliminating the story's dramatic foundation.[25]

Critical reception and success

The first out-of-town tryout for South Pacific began on March 7, 1949, at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. After the first performance, Mark Todd, a leading theatre critic, told Mary Martin, who was playing Nellie, not to take the show to New York. Martin was shocked and asked why, and Todd replied, "Because it's too... good for them!" The show moved on to Boston, where it was so successful that playwright George S. Kaufman complained (facetiously) that people in Boston were so excited about the show they shoved money under the doors of the Shubert Theatre. "They don't actually want anything," he joked. "They just want to push money under the doors."[26]

South Pacific opened on Broadway with $400,000 in advance sales. The New York Times and other newspapers published glowing reviews of the show; one critic called it "South Terrific". People were so anxious to obtain tickets that columnist Leonard Lyons wrote a column about the lengths people had gone to in getting them. Because "house seats" were being sold by scalpers for two hundred dollars or more, the attorney general's office threatened to close the show. However, the parties who provided the scalpers with the tickets were never identified, and the show ran without interference. The production grossed $2,635,000, with a $50,600 weekly gross, and ran for 1,925 performances. The national tour began in 1950 and grossed $3,000,000 in the first year making $1,500,000 in profit. The long-playing original cast album, priced at $4.85, sold more than a million copies.

South Pacific won ten Tony Awards, including best musical, best male performer (Pinza), female performer (Martin), best supporting male performer (McCormick), best supporting female performer (Hall), best director (Logan), best book, and best score. In 1950, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. However, the Pulitzer Prize was given to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein only; Joshua Logan was not recognized for his work on the libretto until later.[26] Over time, the critical assessments of the musical have not been tempered. "With South Pacific, Rodgers and Hammerstein rose to new towering heights of success, both commercially and artistically.... The veteran producer Arthur Hammerstein called it 'the greatest musical show Broadway had ever seen, perfect in every respect.' The critic Richard Watts, Jr., described it as 'a thrilling and exultant musical play, an utterly captivating work of theatrical art.'"[27] Critic John Simon wrote: "Many are the knowledgeable and discriminating people for whom Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, brilliantly co-written and staged by Joshua Logan, was the greatest musical of all."[28]

Despite historical recognition of South Pacific's message for an end to racism, one 2008 analysis of the show argues that its story still defines an "orientalist" reality, where native characters take on "exotic background roles" in relation to Americans. In addition to that, it argues, the character relationships have deep undercurrents of sexism and child abuse, where underage, voiceless, submissive Asian daughters are sold off to have sex with older, powerful military men.[29]


Note: see [1] for a complete listing and details of the various recordings

Columbia Records recorded the overture and most of the songs from the original production in 1949, using members of the cast including Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin. Drawn from the original masters, Columbia released the album in both the new LP format and on 78-rpm discs.[30] When Sony acquired Columbia, a CD was released from the previously unused magnetic tape recording from the same 1949 sessions in New York City. The CD includes the bonus tracks: "Loneliness Of Evening" (recorded by Mary Martin, later used in second TV version of Cinderella); "My Girl Back Home" (Recorded by Mary Martin); "Bali Ha'i" (cover version by Ezio Pinza); and Symphonic Scenario for Concert Orchestra (original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett).[31]

The film soundtrack was released on the RCA Victor label on March 19, 1958 (ASIN: B00004ZDXK).[32]

Masterworks Broadway released a recording of the 1967 Lincoln Center production starring Florence Henderson as Nellie, Giorgio Tozzi as Emile, David Doyle as Luther Billis, Justin McDonough as Lt. Cable, Lyle Talbot as Capt. Brackett, and Irene Byatt as Bloody Mary.

In 1986 José Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa made a studio recording of South Pacific, the sessions of which were filmed as a documentary, similar in style to Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story documentary a year earlier which featured the same stars. It also featured Sarah Vaughan as Bloody Mary and Mandy Patinkin as Lt. Cable.[33]

The 2001 Royal National Theatre's revival cast album was recorded in 2002 on First Night Records with Philip Quast as Emile, Lauren Kennedy as Nellie, Edward Baker-Duly as Lt. Cable, Sheila Francisco as Bloody Mary and Nick Holder as Luther Billis, and included the cut song, "Now Is the Time".[34]

The 2005 Carnegie Hall concert version was released on April 18, 2006 by Decca Broadway with Reba McEntire as Nellie, Brian Stokes Mitchell as Emile, Lillias White as Bloody Mary, Jason Danieley as Lt. Cable and Alec Baldwin as Luther Billis, and includes most of the dialogue used in the live performance.

The 2008 Broadway revival cast album was released on May 27, 2008, by Masterworks Broadway.[35][36]

Film and television versions

South Pacific was made into a 1958 film of the same name, that topped the box office that year and the 65 mm Todd-AO cinematography (by Leon Shamroy) was nominated for an Academy Award. The film was also nominated for and won the music-adaptation-and-sound award.

An elaborate, Australian television production of the show was made in 2001. It starred Glenn Close and Harry Connick, Jr.. This version omitted the well-known song "Happy Talk" and cut "Bali Hai" in half, among other changes. The film was criticized, because it changed the order of the songs and because Rade Šerbedžija, unlike all the previous Emiles, did not have an operatic singing voice. Also, the character of Nellie Forbush was conceived as a young and inexperienced woman, fresh out of nursing school, in military service. Glenn Close was felt by many to be too old to play the role of someone, who describes herself in song, as "immature and incurably green."

An American television network contacted Michener with the idea of him introducing an anthology series with the title of the book, but Michener discovered that he no longer had the rights to the title after he sold it to the playwrights.[37] He did provide his name to the 1959 Adventures in Paradise American television series.[38]

Cultural references

The 1954 film Men of the Fighting Lady, set during the Korean War, based on material written by James A. Michener, has a prologue where Michener is introduced to a Navy flight surgeon. The surgeon comments, "Mr. Michener, I fought in the South Pacific in World War II, but I never realized how much fun it had been until I read your book!" Michener replies, "I never realized how much fun it was either, until Rodgers and Hammerstein set it to music!"

"I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" was adapted for a commercial jingle for Clairol hair coloring in the 1970s.

The musical is mentioned in Billy Joel's song, "We Didn't Start the Fire" and in a season 3 episode of The O.C..[citation needed]

The song "Bali Ha'i" is performed by Brenda Strong in the second season of 3rd Rock From the Sun twice, much to the pleasure of the character of Tommy.

The song "A Wonderful Guy" can be heard in the video game Fallout 3 when listening to the Galaxy News Radio channel.

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway (1949)

1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Tony Awards
  • Best Musical (winner)
  • Libretto (winner)
  • Best Original Score (winner)
  • Best Actor in a Musical (Ezio Pinza) (winner)
  • Best Actress in a Musical (Mary Martin) (winner)
  • Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Myron McCormick) (winner)
  • Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Juanita Hall) (winner)
  • Producer (Musical) (Hammerstein, Rodgers, Hayward, Logan) (winners)
  • Best Director (Logan) (winner)
  • Best Scenic Design (Jo Mielziner) (winner) (awarded in 1949 for a number of productions)

2001 London revival

Laurence Olivier Awards
  • Best Actor in a Musical (Philip Quast) (winner)

2001 Television film

Emmy Awards
  • Outstanding Music Direction (Paul Bogaev) (nominee)
  • Outstanding Single Camera Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie (Guntis Sics) (Rick Ash) (Joe Earle) (Joel Moss) (nominee)

2008 Broadway revival

Drama Desk Awards
  • Outstanding Revival of a Musical (winner)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Paulo Szot) (winner)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Kelli O'Hara) (nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Danny Burstein) (nominee)
  • Outstanding Lighting Design (Donald Holder) (nominee)
  • Outstanding Sound Design (Scott Lehrer) (winner)
  • Outstanding Set Design of a Musical (Michael Yeargan) (winner)
  • Outstanding Director of a Musical (Bartlett Sher) (winner)
Outer Critics Circle Awards
  • Outstanding Revival of a Musical (winner)
  • Outstanding Director of a Musical (Sher) (winner)
  • Outstanding Choreographer (Christopher Gattelli) (nominee)
  • Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical) (Yeargan) (nominee)
  • Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical) (Catherine Zuber) (winner)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Szot) (winner)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Musical (O'Hara) (nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Burstein) (winner)
Tony Awards


  1. ^ Critic John Simon writes: "Many are the knowledgeable and discriminating people for whom Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, brilliantly co-written and staged by Joshua Logan, was the greatest musical of all."
  2. ^ The veteran producer Arthur Hammerstein called it the greatest musical show Broadway had ever seen, perfect in every respect. The critic Richard Watts, Jr., described it as "a thrilling and exultant musical play, an utterly captivating work of theatrical art."
  3. ^ a b Bloom, Ken and Vlastnik, Frank. Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of all Time, pp. 300-03. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, 2004. ISBN 1-57912-390-2
  4. ^ Nolan, pp. 178-83
  5. ^ The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1966, p. 137
  6. ^ South Pacific history at R&H Theatricals
  7. ^ Time Magazine, June 6, 1955
  8. ^ Shanley, J.P. New York Times, "Gossip of the Rialto", January 3, 1954, p.XI ("Wright will have played the part 1040 times, according to her own estimate.")
  9. ^ R&H Theatricals history
  10. ^ Green, Stanley. Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre (1980), Da Capo Press, ISBN 0306801132, p. 399
  11. ^ Green, Stanley. Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre, p. 398, New York: Da Capo Press, 1976 ISBN 0306801132
  12. ^ Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  13. ^ National Theatre archive
  14. ^ V&A Theatre Collections archives at Blythe House
  15. ^ Brantley, Ben."Theater Review | 'South Pacific'More On Sultry City Night Is Transformed Into an Enchanted Bali Ha'i"The New York Times, June 11, 2005
  16. ^ monstersandcritics Article on South Pacific UK tour
  17. ^ article, March 7, 2008, "Sher to Discuss South Pacific at Vivian Beaumont March 26"
  18. ^ Fick, David."SOUTH PACIFIC Review Roundup"Musical Cyberspace, February 6, 2010
  19. ^ Brantley, Ben.The New York Times, April 4, 2008
  20. ^ Announcement of Tony Award nominations,
  21. ^ South Pacific to End Record-Breaking Run at Lincoln Center on August 22, 2010
  22. ^ Hetrick, Adam.South Pacific Tour to Play Chicago; Itinerary Revised", September 21, 2009
  23. ^ 'South Pacific' plot",, accessed June 25, 2009
  24. ^ "Richard Rodgers" (2003), Geoffrey Holden Block, p.136, Yale University Press, ISBN 0300097476
  25. ^ pp.61-62 Lewis, David H. Broadway Musicals: A Hundred Year History McFarland 2002
  26. ^ a b Nolan, pp. 190-95
  27. ^ "South Pacific" at the Theatre History website
  28. ^ quoting John Simon
  29. ^ Huffington Post quoting Rick Ayers
  30. ^ masterworksheritage "1949 history",
  31. ^ "Columbia Masterwords listing",
  32. ^ " listing, 1958 film soundtrack",
  33. ^ " listing for 1986 studio recording",
  34. ^ " listing, Royal National Theatre Production - 2001 London Cast",
  35. ^ Gans, Andrew and Hetrick, Adam."'South Pacific' Company Records CD April 14; Recording Due in May",, April 14, 2008
  36. ^ " listing for 2008 new cast recording",
  37. ^ Hayes, John Michael James A. Michener: A Biography, p. 158. Bobbs-Merrill 1984
  38. ^ Ibid, p. 159


  • The World Almanac and Book of Facts, New York, 1966, New York World-Telegram
  • Bauch, Marc. The American Musical. Marburg, Germany: Tectum Verlag, 2003. ISBN 382888458X described here
  • Bauch, Marc. Themes and Topics of the American Musical after World War II. Marburg, Germany: Tectum Verlag, 2001. ISBN 3828811418 described here
  • Nolan, Frederick. The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, New York, 2002. ISBN 1-55783-473-3

External links


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