Theater fans may have heard about the 2008 Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific, which took home a bunch of Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Direction and Best Scenic Design. That production is now starting its national tour with a new cast, which kicked off this week at the Golden Gate Theater in San Francisco, and we can see what at least some of the fuss was about over the original production. It's a grand tribute to mid-twentieth century American musicals and boisterously faithful to one of the favorite scores of the genre. And with all its glorification of the unsung heroes who waited out much of WWII on quiet islands in the South Pacific, it gives modern audiences a glimpse of the rabid, just-post-war nostalgia for wartime stories that American audiences had in the late 1940s and 50s.
In this new cast, the shining stars are definitely Carmen Cusack in the lead role of Ensign Nellie Forbush, the hilarious Keala Settle as Bloody Mary, and the dashing Anderson Davis as Lieutenant Joseph Cable, whose tenor voice is as strong and tight as his abs. Also, the ensemble of male dancers who get to show off particularly in the first act, is super-talented and downright acrobatic.