The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN, will stage a resident revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific in summer 2001, in a year when all eyes and ears will be fixed on the mysteries of "Bali Ha'i."
The Ordway staging will be an "Ordway Original" not related to the expected Broadway revival being produced by the Weisslers in the coming year. The creative team for the Minnesota South Pacific has not been announced, but they revival will run June 12-July 1, 2001. An Ordway spokesperson said the resident staging is not related to the talked-about Weissler tour and Broadway staging.
There has been no official announcement about the Weissler version, but Jerry Zaks (Guys and Dolls, The Civil War) has been mentioned as director.
An ABC television movie musical version of the 1949 classic will air in spring 2001 starring Glenn Close (who also co-produces) as nurse Nellie Forbush and Harry Connick Jr. as Lt. Cable. Some cuts and changes are expected for the TV version. Movie actor Rade Sherbedgia (Mission Impossible 2, Space Cowboys) will be Emile de Becque, and "Murphy Brown" character actor Robert Pastorelli, is Luther Billis.
* South Pacific, drawn from James Michener's stories, "Tales of the South Pacific," was considered groundbreaking for the commingling of an exotic wartime locale, its romantic plot and score and its serious exploration of racial bigotry, summed up in the Hammerstein lyric, "You've Got to be Carefully Taught." That song is generally thought to be the reason the musical captured the Pulitzer Prize. Josh Logan's direction was hailed for its fluidity and sense of cinematic flow.
In the musical play, Ensign Nellie Forbush, a Navy nurse from Little Rock, falls in love with the distinguished Emile de Becque, a French planter who has been living on the island where she is based during World War II. A secret about his past makes Nellie face her hidden racism. Lt. Joe Cable, meanwhile, has fallen in love with an island girl, inviting him to question himself.
The score includes "Some Enchanted Evening," "Younger Than Springtime," "A Wonderful Guy," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair," "Bloody Mary," "Happy Talk" and more.
Cast reunions, panel discussions and an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York greeted the 50th anniversary of the show in April 1999.
Call (651) 224-4222 for Ordway ticket information.
— By Kenneth Jones