Having grown up in New York, I’ve seen as many musicals in my life as a real “theater person” has (despite the fact that my acting experience ends at playing Snow White in a day camp musical in 6th grade. No comment.) But the most outstanding by far is shockingly not playing on Broadway – it’s actually at Lincoln Center instead. The revival of South Pacific is an absolute must-see for any New York native or visitor.
Matthew Morrison and Li Jun Li in the original revival. Image courtesy of time.com
When the show first opened, the New York Times described the romance between Nellie (Kelli O’Hara) and Emile (Paulo Szot) as “unabashed and unquestioning.” There is no other show that invites you to dive headfirst emotionally into the characters’ love, to personally involve yourself in their passions and sorrows as they flare. Set amongst the lush scenery of (obviously) the South Pacific, you feel the same heat of the atmosphere, the same impulse to live as the characters do. While watching South Pacific, you fall in love – it feels just as real as anything you’d experience yourself.
My best friend and I have come up with a phrase to classify these instants of uncontainable emotion – heart-swelling moments. They’re the moments you can’t describe, but always remember. The entire two hours of South Pacific will undeniably cause countless of these.
Kelli O’Hara and Paulo Szot are returning for the last few weeks of the show – get tickets while you still can! (No word yet on whether Glee’s Matthew Morrison will as well – I’m crossing my fingers.)