Noel Coward's Pacific 1860 Gets U.S. Premiere at York, Jan. 31-Feb. 2; Simon Jones Helms

By Kenneth Jones
24 Jan 2003

Nancy Anderson and Stephen Mo Hanan, late of Jolson and Company, reunite for the Simon Jones-directed concert reading of Noel Coward's operetta, Pacific 1860, Jan. 31-Feb. 2.



The U.S. premiere of the short-lived London show is part of the winter Musicals in Mufti series produced by the York Theatre Company.

Jones, the respected TV and stage actor known for "Brideshead Revisited," plays the Governor and Narrator of the piece. Anderson and Hanan appeared at the York in Hanan's Jolson and Company, which later surfaced at the Century Center Off-Broadway for a commercial run in 2002.

The cast also includes Melissa Rain Anderson, Lorna Dallas and Milan Cronovich, with Christina Morrell, Emily Rozek, Dan Maceyak and two others to be announced. Jack Lee is musical director.

Pacific 1860 has book, music and lyrics by Noel Coward. It opened Dec. 19, 1946, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London and ran for 129 performances. It was the first show to re-light the Drury Lane after the war. The plot concerned a prima donna visiting an island called Samolo in the South Pacific and starred Mary Martin (who would later have greater success with a South Pacific on Broadway).

The songs include "His Excellency Regrets," "If I Were a Man," "Uncle Harry," "Dear Madam Salvador," "My Horse Has Cast a Shoe," "Bright Was the Day," "One, Two, Three," "I Never Knew," "I Saw No Shadow," "Invitation to the Waltz," "I Wish I Wasn't Such a Big Girl," "Pretty Little Bridesmaid," "Mothers' Lament," "This Is a Changing World," "Fumfumbolo," "This Is a Night For Lovers," "The Toast Music."

The original cast, preserved on a London recording, included Irlin Hall, Graham Payn, Maidie Andrews, Sylvia Cecil, Rose Hignell, Winefride Ingham, Ann Martin, Pat McGrath, Joy O'Neill, Daphne Peretz, Maria Perilli, Ann Sullivan & Peggy Thompson.

Coward had greater success with such plays as Cavalcade, Private Lives, Design for Living, Hay Fever, Present Laughter and more.

Performances in the dress-casual Mufti series, devoted to "underappreciated" musicals, are in the York's digs at The Theatre at St. Peter's in the Citicorp Center, 54th and Lexington, in Manhattan. For information or reservations, call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.yorktheatre.org.

*

The current Mufti offering, through Jan. 26, is John Kander and James and William Goldman's A Family Affair.