By Adam Hetrick
28 Dec 2012
South Pacific, which earned seven Tony Awards including Best Revival, received its Australian premiere Aug. 8 at the Sydney Opera House. It then transferred to the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Sept. 13-Oct. 21.
Bartlett Sher, who earned a Tony Award for staging the 2008 revival on the thrust stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theater, staged the production that employs an orchestra of 34 musicians. South Pacific began its Brisbane engagement at the Lyric Theatre Dec. 27 where it will continue to Jan. 27, 2013.
The production will return to the Sydney Opera House in September 2013.
The Australian cast is led by Lisa McCune as Nellie Forbush and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Emile de Becque. Principal actors also include Christine Anu as Bloody Mary, Gyton Grantley as Luther Billis, Daniel Koek as Lieutenant Cable, Celina Yuen as Liat, John O'May as Captain Bracket, Jeremy Stanford as Harbison, John Xintavelonis as Stewpot and Rowan Witt as Professor.
The production is presented by Australian producer John Frost (Wicked, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) and Opera Australia.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1949 World War II-set musical returned to Broadway via Lincoln Center Theater March 1, 2008, and officially opened April 3, 2008. It concluded its two-year Broadway run Aug. 22, 2010.
South Pacific earned seven 2008 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Direction, Best Scenic Design, Best Costumes, Best Lighting and Best Sound.
The revival features 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 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.
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.
For tickets, visit southpacificmusical.com.au.