In this theatrical concert experience of South Pacific, University of Michigan Musical Theatre students work alongside a Broadway cast and creative team.
Based on James Michener’s Pulitzer Prizewinning collection of short stories, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s blockbuster was an entertainment landmark of post-World War II Broadway, and a romantic and joyous drama that charmed audiences with a collection of instant hits, including “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy.”
Now, 70 years after its premiere, this fresh take on South Pacific sets out to interrogate the beloved masterpiece through our contemporary lens, prompting us to reconsider long-held assumptions about race, gender, and American dominance. Voices reconciling and reverberating difference, nationalism, and inherited prejudices are at the heart of this shockingly contemporary classic of the American Musical Theater. The production casts a new perspective on the white woman working for the US Army who recognizes her role in systemic racism, the mixed-race couple who find each other amidst the backdrop of a world at war, and the young Polynesian woman at the heart of the story.
In this theatrical concert performance, U-M Musical Theatre students will work alongside a Broadway cast and creative team; after the UMS performances, the production will tour to Grand Rapids and then be presented on The Philadelphia Orchestra’s subscription series.