The New York Post reports that the actress, a four-time Golden Globe Award nominee, is "in the running" to play the role of Nellie Forbush, which was created in the original Broadway production by the late Mary Martin. The New York daily says the producers' wish list for the role also includes screen star Reese Witherspoon and two-time Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara. O'Hara, in fact, scored one of her biggest successes in a Lincoln Center Theater production: playing Clara in the award-winning Adam Guettel musical The Light in the Piazza.
Johansson's agents, the Post also reports, have been telling Broadway producers that the actress is eager to make her Main Stem debut. There have also been reports that the 22-year-old actress might join Patti LuPone for a limited run of Gypsy this summer at City Center. Johansson would play the title role of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee opposite the Rose of Tony and Olivier Award winner LuPone.
No official casting has been announced for the upcoming production of South Pacific, which will mark the first time the musical has been seen on Broadway since it debuted in 1949. The Post does say that Russian baritone Dimitri Hvorostovsky is a possible candidate for the role of Emile de Becque.
According to a recent casting notice, the Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific will begin previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater "on/about" Feb. 28, 2008. Rehearsals are scheduled to begin the previous month. The Light in the Piazza's Bartlett Sher will direct.
In other South Pacific news, "Great Performances" will rebroadcast the Reba McEntire-Brian Stokes Mitchell concert version of the musical March 14 on WNET/Thirteen in the New York area beginning at 8 PM ET. McEntire and Mitchell will also reunite for more South Pacific concerts this summer at the Hollywood Bowl. Performances are set for Aug. 3-5. South Pacific features songs by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II and was drawn from James Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific." Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza co-starred in the original Broadway production, which boasted such classic songs as "Some Enchanted Evening," "Younger Than Springtime," "Bali H'ai" and "A Wonderful Guy."