"South Pacific" in Concert from Carnegie Hall
Introduction

Joe Sinnott-Thirteen/WNET New York

“SOUTH PACIFIC” IN CONCERT FROM CARNEGIE HALL premiered on April 26, 2006 on PBS (check local listings).

Based on James Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning blockbuster was a landmark of post-World War II Broadway, a provocative romantic drama that beguiled audiences with a hit parade of instant standards. Last June, “South Pacific” reached new heights when, for one enchanted evening, Carnegie Hall presented a magnificent concert production with a dream cast headed by Reba McEntire, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jason Danieley, Lillias White, and Alec Baldwin. Directed for the concert stage by Walter Bobbie, with musical director Paul Gemignani conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the performance was acclaimed by THE NEW YORK TIMES as “a state of nearly unconditional rapture,” praising the production for locating “the show’s real staying power in its operatic respect for love as a force that hurts, teases, destroys and ennobles.”

“South Pacific” was among Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most successful and critically acclaimed shows, winning nine Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, in 1950. Although its first Broadway revival will not occur until the 2007-08 season (when it is presented by Lincoln Center Theater), “South Pacific” has lived on in thousands of productions, both professional and amateur, over the years, as well as in two movie versions.

Learn why “South Pacific” had to be a hit for the duo and the difficulties they encountered in presenting the controversial theme at the heart of the musical in the essay by contributor Thomas Hischak. See all the numbers from the musical in the song list, which includes links to video excerpts from the concert performance. Find photos from the original production in the Multimedia Presentation, and read an interview with musical theater star Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Special funding for the program was provided by The Rodgers Family Foundation and The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust.

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  • Cathy Rehart

    This is an excellent performance of a great Rogers & Hammerstein musical. I could watch it over and over. McEntire is enchanting and Mitchell is fabulous. I would give it five stars.

  • Cathy

    I couldn’t sleep one night an found this wonderful presentation on TV .. I was so happy I coldn’t sleep! I loved it and what a beautiful way to enjoy an old stand-by that I love when it first came out. I fell inlove with it all over again … thank you thank you !

  • M Voit

    I was ahhhh struck by this wonderful performance. You felt their excitement and emotion of the moment. Amazing. I would watch it again. 5 stars

  • Sandra Hofsommer

    What a wonderful program. I happened upon it on New Years Day and lost myself in the humor, the story, the fantastic voices of the singers, and the marvelous orchestra. Thanks for starting 2009 on just the right note. Six stars!

  • Carolyne

    Saw this Show and fell in love with it…Totally 8 + Stars….I bought the DVD and have watched it
    over the holiday’s….Reba and Mitchell beautiful
    voices and I must not leave out Bloody Mary she was fantastic….

  • Steve Von Gogh

    Absolutely ahhh struck by this one! I was channel surfing last night just to have something on the tube while paying bills before “hitting the sack”. Ended up getting glued-to-the-tube watching this! I haven’t listened to (or even viewed) anything on “South Pacific” since I was a kid in the ’50’s. We used to visit my Grandmother in Stockton every Sunday and she had the whole LP Album. Would put it on the duration of our Sunday visits there. Sure brings back memories! Sure do “see” it from a totally different perspective as an adult (and also a Nam War Veteran). I’ve got to buy this one. Will also view it over and over again once I get it! Absolutly perfect casting!!!! 10 Stars all the way!

  • Barbara

    Fabulous performance! The singing is wonderful, the music beautiful, the acting extremely well done and quite comedic! I paused on the channel while surfing for a family movie with my 9 yr old by my side, and he became just as engaged as I almost immediately!

  • Marj Kempffer

    this was a perfectly wonderful performance – what a joy to focus on the message and lyrics without sets ! loved it!

  • Amber

    Fabulous performance Reba was fabulous and beautfil.

  • Andrea J. Goldenthal

    What a gem! Nothing of the story was lost in this extraordinary concert version, with the artists holding ‘the book.’ In fact, it came in handy when Alec Baldwin lost his place! A funny moment! The music and lyrics, alone, deliver the powerful message. Brian Stokes Mitchell was magic! His warm, rich, emotional delivery can neither be matched nor surpassed. I’ll never wash that man’s performance “out of my hair” or memory. Reba brought new life to the role with her powerful voice and characature-like portrayal! All of it, and everyone, truly remarkable and memorable! THANKS PBS (Phoenix, Channel 8)

  • hln

    Simply the best musical performance I’ve ever seen. And I didn’t even much LIKE the play before seeing this. Incredible…..

  • nan

    Magic!!!!

  • brenda

    Iam still floating in a cloud of happiness. What a memorable performance. Absolutely loved it. Gotta get the DVD.

  • Sherry Lichty

    How do I go about purchasing the DVD of this spectacular performance of South Pacific? Thank you.
    Sherry Lichty

  • James Salvage

    What a heart warming, spectacular performance. Reba made “Nellie” her own. Mary and Mitzi who?
    Looking forward to sharing the DVD with family and friends for years to come.

  • James Hardman

    As a devoted fan of Reba McIntire I just was awestruck as she added so much to that wonderful play. Im 76 yrs old and she is still my hearthrob. She just excells in everything she does and I melt away hearing her sing.
    All of the acting was superb and the play was performed exquisitely. I hope PBS re-runs this wonderful story sometime soon.

  • Renee

    It’s “awe-struck”…

  • Barbara E. Clark

    February 14, 2010
    I had not heard of this concert production of South Pacific before…How lucky I feel that I tuned in to my local public television channel on a sleepless night. What a gem!

  • Janette

    I happened upon this production late last night (2/15/2010) while channel surfing. I could not take my ears/eyes off of it….It is the best thing I’ve watched on TV that I can remember. Had to go on line next day to find out more about it since I didn’t catch it at the beginning and credits ran too fast at the end. Would love a DVD of this for my Mom….Wonderful!!!!!!

  • Beverley Crosby

    WOW, if all TV viewing was like this — I’d watch 24-7!!!! SOOOOO good — a must see! How can I purchase a copy?

  • R Sue Dodea

    If only everyone could feel the magic of this performance, the singing, the orchestra, the book and lyrics — everything about it is transcendant! I am captivated and my life so much richer for having heard Brian Stokes Mitchell as Emile, charmed by the versatile Reba, the cast is perfection. Thank you to everyone involved for making this available. Bali Hai is calling and calling…

  • R Sue Dodea

    Have to add — why isn’t Tom Deckman ( as The Professor) already a star? He’s got the looks of Matthew Broderick’s molre adorable younger brother, the comic chops of Tim Conway, plus he can sing — someone needs a new agent because we should be seeing Deckman everywhere!

  • D. Bourisaw

    Reba is just amazing!!!!

  • gail moore

    OMG. I fell in Love with “Love” all over again, after seeing this version. Reba just “Glowed” thru out the whole performance. And Mr. Brian Mitchell. has become my new heart-throb. What a Voice! He carried himself thru the songs and to the peak of perfection like I’ve never seen before in a male singer I’ve never had such an emotional [heavy on emotional] roller coaster ride thru an on stage or film screen presentation.. It was Beautiful!!
    The 3 M’s
    Moving, Milestone, Moments.! all wrapped up in one Show. Wow, I’d give it an outstanding 5 stars plus the stars it put in my eyes. I’ve got to see it again. Thank you , Thank you!

  • Barbara

    I’ve been confused between this concert and the production at the Lincoln Center which I saw last December; loved it. But love Brian Stokes Mitchell also and wonder when it will be broadcast again. Anyone know?

  • Tom

    South Pacific, in particular the “Concert” rendition, is my all time favorite. At a dance years ago, “on some enchanted evening”, I “saw a stranger”, this goddess, my future wife, “across a crowded room”. I didn’t quite “fly to her side”, but I did manage to meet, then date and ultimately persuade her to accept my marriage proposal. We shared fifty four years together and I am eternally grateful for her gracious care and wise counsel – not only to me but our four children. I am alone now, but I often imaginatively relive that special occasion with the help of Mitchell and McEntire. In addition, I happy to say I have for many years earnestly supported its message of racial tolerance.

  • Toni Kaufman

    Sherry,

    Did you ever find out where to purchase the DVD? If so, where?

  • Lana Kuzon

    It is my birthday, so I am taking advantage of the birthday choice privelage, in the company of my son Drew and grand-daughter Olivia, choosing to watch the South Pacific Musical Concert with Reba and Brian FOR THE SEVENTY-FIFTH TIME!!!!!!!…BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!
    PS: Hi Brian!

  • Milore

    South Pacific always seemed ‘dated’ to me until I saw this version. The interracial ‘non-traditional’ casting was a really brilliant idea. I bought the dvd and it’s one of my favorite things to watch!

  • Jerry McHenry

    Awesome performance by the entire cast. Play South Pacific frequently.

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