My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC

Yankeefan007
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My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#1
Posted: 3/8/08 at 6:16pm
A first-rate production of a might-fine warhorse, featuring two of the most uncharismatic leads I've ever seen.

That said, it was the perfect show to see this rainy afternoon. From the moment the pit opened up to reveal the 30-piece orchestra during the full 7-minute overture, I knew LCT had finally done something to live up to Piazza and Utopia.

Bartlett Sher's gorgeous production is any musical theater fan's dream come true. And LCT has spared no expense, allowing Michael Yergan, Catherine Zuber, and Donald Holder to create some of the most eye-catching, eye-popping, and attractive designs I've ever seen.

Kelli O'Hara has everything a musical theater star should - talent, good looks, a pretty voice, etc. (in no particular order) - but she doesn't have IT. She's a capable actress, no doubt about it, but she just doesn't radiate star power.
(I dare say, she's never had IT, either, and the chemistry came from her leading man.)

Because, normally, with a dynamo of a leading man, the chemistry can be hot (see: The Pajama Game), but Paulo Szot, as gorgeous a baritone as he has, is stiff as a board. He is a fine actor, accent a bit thick at times, but nothing remarkable.

Neither of them are miscast - they just don't have chemistry.

Matthew Morrison uses some odd choices as Cable (placing more emphasis on the character's illness than anything else), Danny Burstein is a bit too fey as Billis, and Loretta Ables Sayer is strong, if unremarkable as Bloody Mary.

Yet it was still satisfying. Very satisfying. And such a treat to hear such a glorious score played in all its glory. Go see it. It's worth it.
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Mr Roxy
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#2
Posted: 3/8/08 at 6:18pm
The revival will be recorded as I saw this at LCT today
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broadwayfan7
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#2
Posted: 3/8/08 at 6:20pm
Can't wait to see this show!
"Everytime you step on that stage it is somebody's first Broadway show and somebody's last Broadway show. Make it count."
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ljay889
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#3
Posted: 3/8/08 at 6:48pm
Yankee, you were never a fan of Kelli. Were you?
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BobbyBubby
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#4
Posted: 3/8/08 at 6:52pm
I'm a fan but I don't think she is a leading lady. Loved her featured work in Piazza and Sweet Smell.
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jewishboy
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#5
Posted: 3/8/08 at 7:16pm
Completely agree with Yankee about Kelli. In Pajama Game she only had "it" when Harry Conick Jr. was on. And although her voice was marvelous throughout, I thought her interpretation of Clara was kind of flat and bland. That's basically the same with her performance in My Fair Lady except for her strong acting and singing during the "Show Me" scene. That said, I'm still looking foward to South Pacific.
Updated On: 3/9/08 at 07:16 PM
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Sleeper2
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#6
Posted: 3/8/08 at 8:51pm
Disagree completely about the lack of chemistry between Nellie and Emil.

I do, however, completely agree about Matt Morrison's horrendous overacting. I was perplexed by his having convulsions one minute then jumping up to run off to battle the next. Doing his weird seizure movements, he pulled attention during Happy Talk and Bart Sher isn't up to his reputation if he doesn't stop the scene-chewing before La Brantley descends.

Yankeefan007
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#7
Posted: 3/8/08 at 11:43pm
I've always enjoyed Kelli O'Hara's work. But I've just noticed through the years that, while talented, she doesn't have "stah quality."
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ray-andallthatjazz86
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#8
Posted: 3/9/08 at 12:11am
O'Hara is a fine supporting performer, a star she ain't. Couldn't agree more with Yankee.
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
Yankeefan007
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#9
Posted: 3/9/08 at 8:15am
But it really was an exquisite production.
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jaystarr
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#10
Posted: 3/9/08 at 9:04am
Thanks Yankee. As always I love reading your reviews. I am excited now to see this show next weekend..Now you are returning the favor to me.. your review is adding fuel to my enthusiams..that's almost running out of gasoline. Well I only got 2 more shows remaiming and trying to encourage myself in any possible way...to see not show cuz I might end up giving my tixs away again...but thanks for your review...I kinda wanna see it now.

I had lunch with Wat yesterday and he told me exacty what you said about the scenic design...I cant wait to see the blinds... and of course the 30 piece orchestra.

J*
Yankeefan007
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#11
Posted: 3/9/08 at 9:27am
The sets just sing "$$$$." A full-sized plane, a full-sized flatbed truck they assemble during the intermission...I didn't realize the stage was so deep.
Updated On: 3/9/08 at 09:27 AM
Yankeefan007
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#12
Posted: 3/9/08 at 2:56pm
bump
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theaterkid1015
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#13
Posted: 3/9/08 at 5:01pm
Interesting thoughts on Kelli O'Hara. I've never seen her live, only heard her on recordings.

Is it just that presence that can't be taught?
Some people paint, some people sew, I meddle.
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TheatreFreak05
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#14
Posted: 3/9/08 at 5:09pm
does anyone now where I can find pictures of the set for the show?
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#15
Posted: 3/9/08 at 10:21pm
I haven't seen Kelli yet in South Pacific yet so I can't judge her in that, but I absolutely think she has star quality. She also has the most beautiful singing voice I've ever heard in my life.
Yankeefan007
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#16
Posted: 3/9/08 at 10:27pm
Theatrefreak, there's a piece on the NY Times website which details the load-in process.
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aliciag
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#17
Posted: 3/9/08 at 10:34pm
I saw the show today and I have to agree... just the sets and the staging make the show completely worth seeing. And then there's the orchestra. Kuddos for really giving an aspect of the musical that is usually overlooked the praise and attention that it truly deserves. It was great to see a 30-piece orchestra playing a grand overture... it's something many shows take for granted nowadays.
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#18
Posted: 3/9/08 at 10:51pm
What was your opinion of the cast? Especially the chemistry between Kelli and Paulo?
Thanks
Yankeefan007
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#19
Posted: 3/9/08 at 10:52pm
It's there. Just read it.
RentBoy86
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#20
Posted: 3/9/08 at 11:19pm
So, with all this money poured into the production, are we pretty sure they'll do a "Live From Lincoln Center" of this?
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aliciag
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#21
Posted: 3/9/08 at 11:22pm
I thought the cast was really talented and I definitely enjoyed them. And I will say that Paul Szot had me on the edge of my seat in "This Nearly was Mine." I guess I can see what other poster mean when they say that there was a little lacking in the chemistry of the two leads. I guess I thought they were good... but there was something left to be desired...
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#22
Posted: 3/10/08 at 11:06am
While I have never seen the originals (Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza), I have yet to find leads that did have remarkable chemistry in these roles. There was certainly no such chemistry to be found in the touring versions headlined by Robert Goulet or Michael Nouri. Lauren Kennedy and Philip Quast were excellent singularly in their roles and good together, but I cannot say that I found them especially compelling as a couple vis-a-vis chemistry. And the less said about Mitzi Gaynor and the utterly deadly Rossano Brazzi from the film version, the better. It sounds like Kelli and Paulo have at least a leg up so far on the majority of their predecessors.
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jeffrey1dog
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#23
Posted: 3/12/08 at 11:46am
I caught the show last night & really enjoyed it. I've never been to the Vivien Beaumont before and it's quite different... like theater-in-the-round. The way it's set up the orchestra pit is a semi-circle in front of the stage, and when the overture ends the stage rolls out to cover them & the action is right in front of you. Our seats were on the far left side (106 & 107) but it was still a great view because it's right in front of you after the roll out (just like being in the center.)

The casting was perfect... everybody was excellent. Paulo Szot & Kelli O'Hara have fabulous voices & DID, in my opinion have good chemistry together, despite what some other people thought. I even wept like a big girl at the end - haha.

I especially liked Bloody Mamma (Loretta Ables Sayre) ... very funny with an amazing voice. We swooned over a shirtless Matthew Morrison singing "Younger Than Springtime" about 5 ft in front of us, from row D, which is now the 2nd row. I guess they had taken out the 1st 2 rows for this production.

And at 2 hrs 55 mins, they DID cut about 20 minutes from the show since earlier previews (originally 3 hrs 15 mins) though it's STILL a bit long, but excellent anyway.
< Patty Duke (the original Neely O'Hara) & me (March 8, 2010)
RentBoy86
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re: My thoughts on SOUTH PACIFIC#24
Posted: 3/12/08 at 1:08pm
Anyone know of any ticket possibilities for this show? Like Saturday Matinee?