O'Hara, who received rave reviews for her performance of the wartime nurse, has been suffering a bad cold since the weekend, which caused her to miss the Saturday night (April 12) and Sunday matinee (April 13) performances of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. It is the first time the actress has missed a performance during her celebrated Broadway career.
Understudy Laura Marie Duncan will perform the role of Forbush April 15; O'Hara, according to a spokesperson for Lincoln Center Theater, is currently scheduled to return to the cast at the Beaumont for the matinee performance April 16.
The South Pacific company recorded the show's cast album April 14. Because of illness, O'Hara will record her tracks at a later date. The CD is due in stores May 27 on the Masterworks Broadway label, a division of Sony BMG.
Prior to South Pacific, Kelli O'Hara was most recently on Broadway in the Tony-winning revival of The Pajama Game, earning a Tony nomination for her performance as Babe. She was also Tony-nominated for her work as Clara in The Light in the Piazza. O'Hara's other Broadway credits include Jekyll & Hyde, Follies, Sweet Smell of Success and Dracula, the Musical. She was also seen in the Reprise! staging of Sunday in the Park with George. O'Hara's debut solo recording, "Wonder in the World," is due May 6 on the Ghostlight Records label.
Laura Marie Duncan has been seen on Broadway in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Full Monty and in the national tour of Scoundrels. Her Off-Broadway credits include House and Garden, Cupid and Psyche, Heat Lightning and The Body Beautiful. Duncan's screen credits include "Law & Order," "Ed" and "Guiding Light." *
South Pacific features O'Hara as well as renowned baritone Paulo Szot as French plantation owner Emile de Becque. Tony-nominated Light in the Piazza director Bartlett Sher directs the new production, which also features another Piazza alum, Matthew Morrison as Lt. Cable.
The South Pacific company also boasts Danny Burstein as Luther Billis, Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary as well as Sean Cullen (as Cmdr. William Harbison), Victor Hawks (Stewpot), Luka Kain (Jerome), Li Jun Li (Liat), Laurissa Romain (Ngana), Skipp Sudduth (Captain George Brackett) and Noah Weisberg (Professor).
The ensemble comprises Becca Ayers, Wendi Bergamini, Genson Blimline, Grady McLeod Bowman, Charlie Brady, Matt Caplan, Christian Carter, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Jeremy Davis, Margot de la Barre, Christian Delcroix, Laura Marie Duncan, Mike Evariste, Laura Griffith, Lisa Howard, Maryann Hu, Zachary James, Robert Lenzi, Garrett Long, Nick Mayo, George Merrick, William Michals, Kimber Monroe, Emily Morales, Darius Nichols, George Psomas, Andrew Samonsky and Jerold E. Solomon.
Based on James Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories "Tales of the South Pacific," the musical focuses on a French plantation owner Emile de Becque and his love interest, Nellie Forbush, a naïve young nurse from Arkansas. Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, South Pacific offers a lushly romantic score while challenging audiences with themes of racial intolerance and bigotry.
The Lincoln Center Theater production has musical staging by Christopher Gattelli, sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Scott Lehrer. Musical director Ted Sperling conducts a 30-piece orchestra performing the musical's original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and dance and incidental music arrangements by Trude Rittmann.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein score includes numerous American songbook classics, including "Some Enchanted Evening," "Wonderful Guy," "Younger Than Springtime," "Happy Talk," "Bali H'ai" and "There Is Nothing Like a Dame." South Pacific, starring Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, won nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for its Broadway debut in 1949.
Tickets for the Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific are available at the Lincoln Center Theater box office (150 West 65th Street), at Telecharge.com or by visiting www.lct.org.