Reviewed by Paula Citron
New York director Bartlett Sher is clearly a purist.
For his multi-award winning Lincoln Centre production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, he went back to the original orchestrations, and included every reprise, every word of dialogue, and the more racy lyrics. This makes for a long show but a sparkling theatre experience nonetheless.
Now admittedly, the pacing is slow, but Sher’s miracle is that there are real people on stage. This production lives and breathes.
The stand-out is Anderson Davis who gives Lt. Joseph Cable both sex and spice. He has to be the best male juvenile, as they say in the trade, that I’ve seen in years. The chemistry between Carmen Cusack as Ensign Nellie Forbush and Jason Howard as Emil de Becque is palpable. Jodi Kimura’s feisty Bloody Mary, Matthew Saldivar’s roguish Luther Billis and Sumie Maeda’s exotic Liat gild the lily.
And don’t forget the glorious music…
South Pacific continues at the Four Seasons Centre until Sept. 5.
Music by Richard Rogers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 11
Book by Oscar Hammerstein 11 and Joshua Logan
Directed by Bartlett Sher
Starring Carmen Cusack, Jason Howard, Anderson Davis, Jodi Kimura, Sumie Maeda, and Matthew Saldivar
Four Seasons Centre, Aug. 12 to Sept. 5, 2010