The plot of South Pacific centers on an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner. This story is intertwined with a secondary romance, between a U.S. lieutenant and a young Tonkinese woman.
The original Broadway production enjoyed immense critical and box-office success and became the second-longest running Broadway musical to that point (behind Rodgers and Hammerstein's earlier Oklahoma!). Because of its exploration of racial and social issues of the day, the show won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. Several of its songs, including "Bali Ha'i", "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair", "Some Enchanted Evening", "There Is Nothing Like a Dame", "Happy Talk" and Younger Than Springtime" have become popular standards.
The production won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score, and it is the only musical production to win Tony Awards in all four acting categories. Its original cast album was the bestselling record of the 1940s, and other recordings of the show have also been popular. The show has enjoyed many successful revivals and tours, spawning a 1958 film and television adaptations. The 2008 Broadway revival won seven Tonys, including Best Musical Revival.