South Pacific, the Pulitzer-Prize winning musical, is back in Chicago for a two-week engagement through February 26, 2012. The Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein show at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 West Randolph St.) is filled with many classical musical favorites audiences across the world have loved, revered and lip-synced to for many decades.
As many theatre-goers recall, South Pacific takes us to a tropical island in (where else?) the South Pacific during World War II, where two romances develop simultaneously amidst the fighting seen and heard in the background.
The primary romantic plot involves U.S. Navy nurse, Nellie Forbush (the lovely Jennie Sophia) and an older, single French plantation owner, Emile de Becque (the talented baritone Marcelo Guzzo),who fall in love until she accidentally meets his multi-ethnic Polynesian children, which casts doubts on her Southern racial tolerance, and questions her ability to continue the relationship.
The second romance is between Navy Airman Joe Cable (the handsome, young Shane Donovan) and a native girl, Liat (demure, mysterious Hsin-Yu Liao), arranged through her mother, Bloody Mary (the wickedly funny Cathy Foy-Mahi).
Now that we’re familiarized with the story line, I feel the show started off too slowly to captivate the eager audience. It pulled up to speed as more of the cast – singers and dancers from the Seabees and local natives filled up the stage with its happy-go-lucky and sometimes emotionally painful songs. Finally, during the late first Act and during the entire Act II, the story began living up, almost but not quite, to its Broadway reputation. As we know it, the Broadway hit is a tough act to follow, with its hugely famous stars, Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza.
Picking favorites from South Pacific, almost means naming every single one of them. There’s “Younger Than Springtime,” “Some Enchanged Evening,”You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught,” “A Cockeyed Optimist,””There is Nothing Like a Dame,” “Bali Ha’I,” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” just to name a few. The musical score would have been more effective with a larger, more resounding orchestra, but it still was enjoyable.
The celebrated book is by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan and directed by Bartlett Sher.
Visit South Pacific – and you’ll have “Some Enchanted Evening.”
The performance schedule for RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S SOUTH PACIFIC is as follows:
Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.
Additional performances: Sunday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.
Individual tickets range from $18-$85 and go on sale this Friday, Dec. 16 at 10 a.m. A select number of premium seats are also available. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores), and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Groups of 15 or more may receive a discount on most shows by calling (312) 977-1710. Gift certificates, which can be redeemed for any production or for season ticket packages, can be obtained at Broadway In Chicago box offices, www.BroadwayInChicago.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 775-2000. Please note: Ticket prices and performance schedule are subject to change.