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Monday, June 2, 2008

Hendrik Hertzberg Loves Bart Sher’s South Pacific, Too (“I’m no theater critic, but…”)

posted by on June 2 at 11:20 AM

The New Yorker’s political-commentary columnist took a break from politics on his blog yesterday to write about… that musical. That everyone’s (still) talking about. Directed by that guy from Seattle. He doesn’t mention Sher by name, but he’s definitely a fan.

This “South Pacific,” the first on Broadway since the original run sixty years ago, is a revelation even if, or maybe especially if, you’ve seen the 1958 Joshua Logan film, starring Rossano Brazzi, John Kerr, and the wonderful Mitzi Gaynor. I’m no theatre critic, but I can testify that every single second of the Lincoln Center revival is absorbing, and long stretches of it are by turns enthralling, exhilarating, and/or moving.

Still, Hertzberg’s post lands on a connection between the plot of the musical and the punishing Democratic primary (the context):

Those two adorable, latte-colored children are like a pair of little Barack Obamas. As in “South Pacific,” today’s ending will be a happy one only when the blonde from Arkansas realizes that all it takes for everybody to be a lot happier is for her to stop standing athwart the future those kids represent and start doing her part to make it happen.

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I'd rather listen to Southpacific.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 2, 2008 11:37 AM

I'm taking JetBlue to NYC in two weeks, my first trip back there in well over a decade.

As soon as I booked the plane reservations, I got busy eyeballing the theatre scene. August: Osage County (snagged orchestra seats for myself & friends); Gypsy (scored front row mezzanine seats for all of us); South Pacific (sold out through July!).

This was back in mid-April. I was stunned. My friends in Manhattan told me tickets to SP were the hottest in town. However, they did give me the name of a ticket broker and I phoned. Before I finished my first sentence, he interrupted and said, "You want South Pacific!" I gulped, said yes, and gave him the date (a Saturday evening performance). He said he'd call back.

Thirty minutes later, he called back. I've got four tickets for Saturday night, center orchestra, 12th row. I asked, How much?" "$450 apiece." "I'll take 'em!"

From all the accounts I've read, I'll never regret it.

Posted by cineaste | June 2, 2008 1:50 PM

I'll tell you what I'd like to see in a enormous whozeewhatsit!!!

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle's Enormous Whozeewhatsit | June 2, 2008 4:18 PM

Sita Sings the Blues has a better musical score.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 2, 2008 4:42 PM

i am absolutely, positively, sure that not one of the NY Times writers who has been spooging all over South Pacific had to pay $450 for their seat.
they also probably had better seats.

Posted by misspennycandy | June 2, 2008 5:18 PM


The Beaumont has less than 1,100 seats - roughly half the size of the Paramount; how bad could ANY of the seats be in a venue that small?

Posted by COMTE | June 2, 2008 10:31 PM


i suppose you are technically correct, and still managing to miss the point.

Posted by misspennycandy | June 3, 2008 9:13 AM

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