Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical South Pacific is arguably one of the most beautiful music theatre scores ever written, adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener.
The show premiered on Broadway in 1949, was adapted to film in 1958, and revived on Broadway at the Lincoln Centre 2008 — a production which won seven Tony Awards and played to sold out houses for two years.
This August, the Australian production of South Pacific will be heading to the Sydney Opera House on August 11 for a limited season with an all Australian cast (led by the previously announced Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Emile de Becque) before transferring to the Princess Theatre Melbourne from 13 September.
“South Pacific is one of those rare musicals that were written immediately following actual events”, says director Barlett Sher. “It was written in 1949, as a response to the war. It’s almost like a national memory, an expression of survival, and for this reason it is a profoundly resonant show.”
Nearly 9 months after the show was initially announced, the principal cast have now been released in an official media launch this morning.
Australia’s petite darling of music theatre, Lisa McCune, returns to the stage to star as Nellie Forbush, the naïve U.S. Navy nurse from Arkansas. Also starring in the production will be Kate Ceberano (Bloody Mary) and Eddie Perfect (Luther Billis) and expat Daniel Koek (Lt. Cable).
Also appearing in the production are:
John O’May (Captain Brackett), Jeremy Stanford (Harbison), Rowan Witt (Professor), Celina Yuen (Liat), John Xintavelonis (Stewpot), Andrew Broadbent, Andrew Conaghan, Caitlin Berry, Danielle O’Malley, Elise McCann, Erin James, Glen Oliver (Dance Captain) Jeff Teale, Justine Puy (Assistant Dance Captain), Lyndon Keenan, Marika Aubrey, Michael Hart, Michael Lindner, Natalie Alexopoulis, Nicholas Jones, Sam Marks, Tod Strike and Todd Keys.
Full of romantic and uplifting show-stoppers, including There is Nothin’ Like a Dame, Some Enchanted Evening and Bali Ha’i, South Pacific confronts the issues of mixed-race marriage, prejudice and tolerance.
The Australian season of South Pacific marks the coming together of Australia’s largest performing arts company, Opera Australia, with Australia’s largest commercial theatre producer, John Frost. The new partnership plans to present some of the finest works of the music theatre repertoire in forthcoming years and is delighted to be commencing with South Pacific.
“I am so thrilled to be co-presenting this stunning production of South Pacific with Opera Australia. One of my favourite Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, I first produced South Pacific in 1994 to great acclaim. This new production from the Lincoln Center Theater is really something quite extraordinary. Along with the fantastic cast we’ve assembled, I know this production will win over Australian audiences, just as it has done in New York and London”, says John Frost.
Directed by Bartlett Sher, winner of the 2008 Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for South Pacific, the all Australian production will be based on Lincoln Centre production, but not a blow-by-blow replica.
“I try to learn about that group and I shape the piece to the group. It’s not the other way round, I’m not forcing an interpretation on them”, Sher told AussieTheatre.
“I make adjustments towards how [the actors] see the piece”, he said.
Similarly, the set for the Australian production has been slightly altered from the original Tony Award winning design by Michael Yeargan to accommodate the theatres in Sydney and Melbourne.
For more information about South Pacific, full cast details, sound bites and more, visit their official website southpacificmusical.com.au
Tickets are currently on sale for the Opera House season and the Princess Theatre Season will go on sale from Monday 7 May.