- By Ken Werther
- Photo Courtesy of the Production
An immediate hit when it opened on Broadway in 1949, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s epic musical romance South Pacific ran for over four years. Starring Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, it won a whopping 10 Tony Awards and is the only show to ever win Tonys in all four acting categories. Adapted from the novel “Tales of the South Pacific” by James A. Michener, the musical went on to win the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Several of its songs, including “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “There Is Nothing Like A Dame,” “Younger Than Springtime,” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy” have become popular standards.
The issue of racial prejudice is candidly explored throughout the musical, which was quite controversial at that time in U.S. history. The plot 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 but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts now offers this new production that will play at the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge just prior to its run in La Mirada. I’ve seen numerous productions of South Pacific over the years, and it just never gets old. Its themes and stunning score are timeless. I’m so looking forward to seeing it yet again!