Tour of Duty: Lincoln Center Theater's South Pacific Will Likely Take to the Road

By Adam Hetrick
11 Apr 2008

Kelli O'Hara in South Pacific.
Kelli O'Hara in South Pacific.
Photo by Joan Marcus

The critically acclaimed Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific may ship out on a national tour.

The Broadway Booking Office an integrated Manhattan-based company responsible for presenting, booking and marketing of theatrical productions lists the revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic among its represented productions.

While this is not an official tour announcement, the BBO website states that plans are underway for a likely fall 2009 tour launch; booking inquiries for national presentation are currently being accepted. No casting or tour dates have been announced.

The new Lincoln Center Theater production, helmed by The Light in the Piazza's Tony-nominated director Bartlett Sher, began previews March 1. South Pacific officially opened April 3 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

Opening to a flurry of critical praises from major publications, Lincoln Center Theater announced April 4 that the musical would play an open-ended run at the Beaumont. South Pacific had originally been scheduled through June 22.



South Pacific made its last lap around the U.S. in a 2001 national tour produced by Fran and Barry Weissler and Clear Channel Entertainment. That production featured Erin Dilly and Michael Nouri, who were succeeded by Amanda Watkins and the late Robert Goulet.

Kelli O'Hara, last seen on the Beaumont stage in The Light in the Piazza, stars as nurse Nellie Forbush alongside Paulo Szot as French plantation owner Emile de Becque in the new Lincoln Center Theater production. O'Hara's former Light in the Piazza onstage love interest, Matthew Morrison, returns to Lincoln Center Theater in the role of Lt. Cable.

South Pacific boasts a 30-piece orchestra conducted by Tony Award winner Ted Sperling and an expansive set by Tony Award-winning designer Michael Yeargan that is replete with palm trees, endless beaches and a 1940's bomber plane.

South Pacific also features 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 French plantation owner Emile de Becque and his love interest, Nellie Forbush, a nave 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. The revival features the musical's original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and dance and incidental music arrangements by Trude Rittmann.

South Pacific's 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 Vivian Beaumont box office (150 West 65th Street), at Telecharge.com or by visiting www.lct.org.