Maltz Jupiter in South Pacific

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Seabees sing in the timeless Tony Award-winning Broadway hit South Pacific, onstage through March 25 at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

Wow! Wow! And wow again! The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is closing its 2017/18 season on March 25 with a must-see production of “South Pacific.”  Tickets start at $58. For show times and other information call 561-575-2223 or visit www.jupitertheatre.org

Under the direction of Gordon Greenberg with choreography by Connor Gallagher and musical direction by Eric Alsford this is a big production with an 11-piece orchestra and a 28-member cast, not to mention the tens and dozens of professionals who make it work.

“’South Pacific’ is a sweeping, glorious and timeless musical that has long been considered one of Broadway’s most loved productions,” said Andrew Kato, the Theatre’s producing artistic director and chief executive. “We are so excited to be re-envisioning this dazzling musical on the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s stage with an unparalleled cast and creative team. It’s the not-to-be-missed musical event of the season!”

The musical was composed by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan.  It was adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Tales of the South Pacific” by James A. Michener.  It opened on Broadway in 1949 and won 10 Tony Awards®.  It went on to become the second longest running musical to that time.

The musical’s 2008 Broadway revival was also a critical success, winning seven Tony Awards®.

It’s a story of love in time of war; it’s the story of love in the face of society’s prejudice.  It’s a story of love and loss and love and gain.

“South Pacific is one of the greatest musicals ever written,” Greenberg said. “It’s a show that is both nostalgic and shockingly contemporary and human. It’s a testament to the musical’s staying power to see how it continues to resonate with audiences, 70 years later.”

Indeed, several times I found myself tearing up as I heard songs that brought up poignant memories even though I hadn’t thought of them in years. 

“Some Enchanted Evening,” “Bali Ha’i,” and “This Nearly Was Mine,” to name a few. And who in the struggle s for equality hasn’t memorized “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught?”

Another perspective of the longevity of the musical’s music was the woman sitting next to me who, at intermission announced: “I know the words to every song.” And she started to sing sotto voce. By the time intermission was over the lyrics had devolved to a hum of occasional bits of melody. I didn’t encourage her.

The casting under director Bob Cline was terrific. The voices sounded custom made for this production especially the leads, Erin Davie as Nellie Forbush and Nicholas Rodriguez as Emile DeBecque. For me, their duets particularly evoked the image of satin caressing velvet.

Oh yes, There’s plenty of eye candy for both sides of the gender aisle.  It’s hot in the South Pacific, after all.


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