Broadway's Tony-Winning South Pacific Revival Airs on PBS Aug. 18

By Adam Hetrick
18 Aug 2010

Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara
Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara
Photo by Joan Marcus

The Tony Award-winning revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's WWII musical South Pacific, starring Tony winner Paulo Szot and Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara, is broadcast live Aug. 18 on PBS' "Live from Lincoln Center" series.

Staged on the expansive Vivian Beaumont Theater thrust by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher, South Pacific airs at 8 PM ET. "Live from Lincoln Center" captures the record-breaking revival five days before it concludes its Broadway run Aug. 22.

South Pacific is the second LCT production staged by Sher at the Beaumont to be aired nationwide by PBS. "Live from Lincoln Center" also presented the Tony Award-winning Adam Guettel musical The Light in the Piazza in 2006. O'Hara also starred in that musical, but departed the production prior to the broadcast.

O'Hara earned her third Tony nomination for her performance as Nellie Forbush in the acclaimed revival and originally exited the production in January. She returned to South Pacific Aug. 10 to rejoin her original co-star Szot as Emile de Becque. Szot earned the 2008 Best Actor Tony Award. The principal cast also includes Tony nominees Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary and Danny Burstein as Luther Billis. Andrew Samonsky plays Lt. Cable.

The cast also features Eric Anderson, Sean Cullen, Christian Delcroix, Luka Kain, Li Jun Li, Laurissa Romain and Skipp Sudduth, Michael Arnold, Craig Bennett, Christian Carter, Todd Cerveris, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Margot de la Barre, Laura Marie Duncan, Jule Foldesi, Taylor Frey, Rob Gallagher, MaryAnn Hu, Lamae, Robert Lenzi, Peter Lockyer, Garrett Long, Nick Mayo, Liz McCartney, George Merrick, William Michals, Marla Mindelle, Kimber Monroe, Alfie Parker Jr., George Psomas, Greg Roderick, Samantha Shafer, Jason Michael Snow, Jerold E. Solomon and Correy West.



Tony Award-winning designer Michael Yeargan created the scenic designs for the revival, which utilizes a retractable stage to reveal a full 30-piece orchestra. The visuals also boast palm trees, endless beaches and a 1940's bomber plane.

South Pacific earned seven 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Direction, Best Scenic Design, Best Costumes, Best Lighting and Best Sound.

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. South Pacific boasts a 30-piece orchestra performing the musical's original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and dance and incidental music arrangements by Trude Rittmann.

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.

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 or by visiting LCT.