Glenn Close will star as Nellie Forbush in an ABC-TV adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. The Hallmark Entertainment presentation will air sometime in 1999. No other casting, including for the key role of Emile de Becque, has been announced.
Close, who will also serve as an executive director, was very likely drawn to the project by the success of Cinderella, a remake of the 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein television musical which was broadcast last November. That program, which starred Whitney Houston, Jason Alexander and Bernadette Peters, won ABC its highest ratings in its early-evening timeslot 13 years.
Composer Michael Gore (Fame), also an executive producer, said that all of the musical's original songs, which include "Some Enchanted Evening," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair," and "There Is Nothin' Like a Dame," will be used in the program. The production will, however, draw further on James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, the original source material, said writer and executive producer Leonard Cohen (the movie Carrie). Hallmark Chairman Robert Halmi, Sr. is the fourth executive producer.
South Pacific premiered on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre on April 7, 1949, under the direction of Joshua Logan, and starring Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza. It ran for 1,925 performances. There has been no major Broadway revival since. A 1958 film of the musical starred Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor. Close has won Tonys for The Real Thing, Death and the Maiden, and Sunset Boulevard. Her films include Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, and Hamlet. She has previously starred the Hallmark movies Sarah, Plain and Tall and its sequel Skylark.
-- By Robert Simonson