Bartlett Sher, who earned a Tony Award for staging the 2008 revival on the thrust stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theater, also staged the Australian production that employs an orchestra of 34 musicians. It is currently playing a four-week Sydney engagement through Sept. 9, prior to a run at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Sept. 13-Oct. 21; with an additional stop in Perth, beginning Dec. 27 at the Lyric Theatre.
"Today is the very first time that the Rodgers and Hammerstein organization, supported by Oscar Hammerstein’s grandson… have allowed this production to be filmed for DVD release," Opera Enterprises general manager Alex Budd told the audience at South Pacific on Sept. 5.
"Opera Australia has mounted the Lincoln Center Theater production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific at the Sydney Opera House. I flew down to see it at the opening, and it was superb," said Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization president Ted Chapin to Playbill.com in a statement. "They invited the entire creative team from Lincoln Center to Sydney, and the resulting production, starring New Zealand baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes and musical and television favorite Lisa McCune, is remarkable enough that we have agreed they can capture it. While it is too early to know exactly what the distribution plan will be, it will most likely follow similar Opera Australia captured performances that were ultimately broadcast on television and shown in select movie theaters in the Australia/New Zealand market, and distributed globally on DVD and Blu-ray." The Tony-winning 2008 Broadway production was filmed for PBS "Live from Lincoln Center," but is not commercially available on DVD. A release date for the Australian DVD has not been determined.
The Australian cast of South Pacific 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, based on the James Michener tome "Tales of the South Pacific," 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.
The revival features the musical's original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and dance and incidental music arrangements by Trude Rittmann.
For tickets, visit southpacificmusical.com.au.