A performance of South Pacific on stage from the Lincoln Center in New York was carried on one of our PBS stations this week. I recorded it, then watched it all the way through Saturday night. I had forgotten how much I love this story and its Rodgers and Hammerstein music.
Adapted from James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, the production features song lyrics full of meaning and lessons, just as relevant today as they were in the World War II time period of the story.
Those lyrics speak of love found some enchanted evening, racial prejudice that you have to be taught, and the dreams you must have if you ever want to have a dream come true. And who doesn’t dream of having a Bali Hai, your own special island?
This production was the first Broadway revival of South Pacific and played to huge crowds since its March 2008 opening. It won seven Tony awards in 2008. The Lincoln Center web page for this musical has a slide show of photos from the performances. The last Lincoln Center evening was scheduled for August 22, 2010.
The production is now on tour. If you’ve never seen it, you’re missing a wonderful show. I hope the tour is expanded to include a theater near me. I would go again and again.
I doubt James Michener ever imagined his Tales of the South Pacific (which won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for fiction) as a stage or movie musical when he first wrote the book. But don’t we all, maybe in one tiny corner of our minds, think our books would make great movies? And don’t we all imagine who would play the main character?
Take it a step further. What comes to mind when you think of your main character (or the main character of a popular novel) starring in a musical? Can you imagine your characters singing and dancing?