Something Was Missing

Adaptations from original sources always leave things on the “cutting room floor.”  I just read a very fascinating article about the transformation of South Pacific (click the link to the article) from a James Michener novel to the original Broadway production to the classic movie to the current revival on the Great White Way and touring around the country.  More historical background from the first performances of the ground-breaking, Pulitzer prize winning classic came to light.

  • On April 17, 1949,  ten days after the show’s opening, a boat carrying 120 American casualties of war arrived in Honolulu.  Casualties of the Theatre in the Pacific.
  • There was a lot more that Rodgers and Hammerstein wanted in the show dealing with race relations.  “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” was just the tip of the iceberg.  The central story of Emille de Becque somehow made it into the show.  But there was a lot more.
  • Like many musicals turned movies, many things were dramatically altered from the original.  The director of the 7 Tony Award winning revival, Bartlett Sher, called the 1958 cinematic effort “no use” when developing the return to the stage. Which just adds to my belief that most of the time, somethings are better left ON stage.  Beautiful to look at, perhaps, but with a loss to its central meaning.

How fitting that I came across the article as we stop to reflect on the millions who have made the ultimate sacrifice in preserving the freedoms we all sometimes take for granted.  Hopefully, one day, the revival of this musical masterpiece makes it way to our neck of the woods.  Or… better yet… just another great show with a scene-stealing character role or a central male lead I wouldn’t mind tackling.

8 thoughts on “Something Was Missing”

  1. MUCH better on stage than the cinematic version or the televised version of a few years ago with Glenn Close and Harry Connick, Jr.. SP was VERY controversial for its time. And we thought R&H only wrote light fluff. INPUT for next summer’s FCF show?

  2. I could mention that someone in the community suggested South Pacific and Peter Pan (someone else) to me….

  3. Peter Pan would be very costly. If memory serves you have the added expense of “flying” involved. YOU must have Peter Pan fly, but there is a role I wouldn’t mind in that, either 😉

    1. South Pacific would be a great Village Player show, as well. A classic show that is perfect for a huge venue.

  4. The flying of Peter Pan has been debated and seen as a major roadblock by many for community theater. I agree that Peter Pan has to fly but disagree that it cannot look good without being costly.

  5. Perhaps it was for professional productions that an outside source had to be used for the effect. I recall learning about in a tech class.

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