Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
Random header image... Refresh for more!

The other side of the World audiences recognized the success of the play. South Pacific, opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, captured the audiences with the originality of the music by the orchestra and the theme of love and racial prejudice. Although the original play had a bigger impact, South Pacific was able to convey the idea that many issues from the past are still relevant today, such as the debate on the legality of gay marriage, very similar to the arguments on interracial marriage sixty years ago.
South Pacific centered on the love story between Ensign Nellie Forbush, naïve Navy nurse from Little Rock, Arkansas, and Emile de Becque, affluent French planter owner, with the subplot of love between Lieutenant Joe Cable and Liat, daughter of Bloody Mary. The play advanced with the struggles both couples have had for facing racial prejudice from the society as well as inner conflicts within the characters. The play also showed other elements of struggles of soldiers during World War II, particularly the African Americans. During one of the musicals, they were separated from the rest of the Seabees. By including this small part of the play, the director achieved his goal of not only questioning interracial marriage but as well as military segregation. 
Costumes were precisely researched to match the time period and stages were set up resembling those in the book. Musical underscoring was perfect that it created a more realistic and lively experience to the play. Well balanced stagecraft enabled the audience to only focus on the play. Actress Kelli O’Hara as Nellie Forbush was successful in portraying her character as someone struggling from love for Emile and fear for his past. Paulo Szot, as Emile de Becque, on the other hand, presented the muscularity of his character, deep voice and heavy French accent.  Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary brought the salvaging island right in front the eyes of the audiences with her brown teeth and broke English.
Watching South Pacific was truly enjoyable from start to finish. It is a great opportunity for young adults because they can visit a time of history that cannot be depicted through mere reading.