South Pacific | Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

South Pacific Recommended The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 2 2013

The book for this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic demonstrates how liberal good intentions can jeopardize a nice time. It takes not one but two fine love stories and turns them into earnest, silly lessons in racial tolerance. Stationed on a Pacific island during World War II, U.S. Navy nurse Nellie Forbush falls for dashing Frenchman Emile only to have second thoughts when she finds out he fathered two children by his now-deceased Polynesian lover. Any reasonable person might assume she's pissed that Emile wooed her without telling her about the kids. But no: she's a bigot who can't stand the fact that he had relations with a nonwhite woman. The other romance, between a Marine lieutenant and a Tonkinese girl, invokes similar foolishness. Still, the great score renders all objections moot, and David Bell's staging represents it nicely. Elizabeth Lanza's Nellie is delightful, and though Stephen Buntrock isn't much of a Frenchman as Emile, he's got great pipes. Bethany Thomas, meanwhile, jeopardizes the nice time in her own way, giving a starkly powerful performance as the calculating Bloody Mary. —Tony Adler

Price: $40-$48


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