With his critically touted staging of "South Pacific," which just opened at New York's Lincoln Center Theatre, director Bartlett Sher is...
With his critically touted staging of “South Pacific,” which just opened at New York’s Lincoln Center Theatre, director Bartlett Sher is batting a thousand on Broadway.
Sher, the artistic head of Seattle’s Intiman Theatre since 2000, is winning the kind of all-out raves any director would lust for with the first Broadway revival of “South Pacific” since the famed Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II musical premiered there in 1949.
Given the rapturous response to the show, it is likely Sher will win another Tony Award nomination for directing. He was nominated previously for the 2005 Broadway musical “The Light in the Piazza” (developed and debuted at Intiman) and his revival of the 1930s Clifford Odets drama “Awake and Sing!” in 2006.
New York critics are praising every aspect of this “South Pacific,” including its cast (led by “Light in the Piazza” star Kelli O’Hara and opera singer Paulo Szot), its sets (by Michael Yeargan) and its dreamy South Seas lighting (by Donald Holder).
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Most reviewers, however, give special kudos to Sher for his rejuvenating take on the Rodgers-Hammerstein show about love and racial tension, which is set during World War II and features such songs as “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Younger Than Springtime.”
A sampling of what critics had to say about the show, which opened April 3 at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater:
“Director Bartlett Sher has risen to the challenge, crafting a crisp, sumptuous, unabashedly emotional revival that finds an almost perfect balance between severity and opulence. … “
— Eric Grode, The New York Sun
“What makes this impeccably acted and designed production so extraordinary is Bartlett Sher’s meticulous and dramatic direction.”
— Joe Dziemianowicz,
New York Daily News
“I know we’re not supposed to expect perfection in this imperfect world, but I’m darned if I can find one serious flaw in this production. Above all, though, what impresses about this ‘South Pacific’ is how deeply, fallibly and poignantly human every character seems.”
— Ben Brantley,
The New York Times
“Director Bartlett Sher has masterminded a big, luscious, witty production with the emotional intimacy of a chamber musical.
“He locates the timely darkness in the 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning war story about deep love and deep bigotry, courage and almost unbearable loss. Yet, he trusts the Rodgers and Hammerstein score and Joshua Logan’s book with a touching sense of old-time wonderment.”
— Linda Winer, Newsday
(Look for The Seattle Times’ review of “South Pacific” by Misha Berson later this month.)
Misha Berson: firstname.lastname@example.org