Monday Musical: South Pacific

If you’ve been visiting this blog for a while, you know that I love musicals.  I really dig the entire concept of seeing a play and then being able to keep that play alive by listening to the songs after you leave the theater.  When you can sing along to a soundtrack in the car or while fixing dinner, it brings the theatrical experience into daily life in a way that a non-musical play can’t.

And because I’m such a musical geek, I thought it would be fun to run a weekly tribute to some of my all-time favorite shows and songs.  So I’m kicking things off with South Pacific, by the peerless Rodgers and Hammerstein.

This musical (which I first knew as a kid — I remember the record album showing Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi in a big old clinch on a palm beach)  has been on my mind lately, mostly because I recorded the wonderful Live at Lincoln Center production that was on PBS last month.  I’ve been watching it in bits and pieces (which is how I watch most things these days).  And it has reminded me of how great this show really is: not just the range of truly memorable songs, but also the daring way in which it addressed the theme of racism long before most musicals were going there.  Great stuff.

Even Matthew has been getting into it.  Last weekend, he joined me in the living room and together we watched Nellie Forbush (played wonderfully by Kelli O’Hara) prance around on the beach with a towel on her head.  Later that evening, Scott came up to me in our room, where I was folding laundry.  He looked rather puzzled.

“Was Matthew just singing ‘I’m Going to Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair’?” he asked me.

“Probably,” I said.

So anyhow, for all you SP fans (or newbies!), here’s a YouTube video of the Lincoln Center performance.  It’s the montage they did for the 2008 Tony Awards, and it’s got a few of the best numbers from the show.  To skip Harry Connick, Jr’s introduction, move about 48  seconds in.  And enjoy.

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