Tony-Winning Revival of South Pacific, With Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Preparing for Australian Debut
By Adam Hetrick
The 2008 Lincoln Center Theater revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, which earned seven Tony Awards including Best Revival, will make its Australian premiere Aug. 8 at the Sydney Opera House.
Bartlett Sher, who earned a Tony Award for staging the 2008 revival on the thrust stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theater, is currently in Australia staging the production that will employ an orchestra of 34 musicians. It will first play a four-week Sydney engagement through Sept. 9, prior to a run at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Sept. 13-Oct. 21.
The cast is led by Lisa McCune as Nellie Forbush and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Emily de Becque. Principal actors also include Kate Ceberano as Bloody Mary, Eddie Perfect 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 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.
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.
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