South Pacific @ Lincoln Center
You know? I yawned a lot.
Oh, it’s a topnotch production, and an A+ to Kelli O’Hara for breathing such life into such a creaky show. She’s everything you could ask for, everything we saw in “My Fair Lady” last year. A joy. She just needs a better musical than this. The piece itself—fundamentally, I mean, as a whole—is dull. Competent, dated, dull, with a gorgeous score. The staging was incredible, and a brilliant use of the space, with the Vivian Beaumont high on my list of favorite theaters. (Yes I am a fan of the thrust stage; I’m thinking of building one right here in my studio apartment. Construction starts Sunday, with tryouts the following weekend. We’ll open with “Bye Bye Birdie.” Bring your tap shoes! You’ll have approximately three square feet of space in which to create your art.)
Anyway. Paulo Szot has a beautiful voice, but either he (or maybe the character) was missing that *something,* that whatchama-what, and if there was a spark between him and cute l’il Kelli I must have been blinking while it happened. (It took me at least 20 minutes to realize he was playing a lead, although this perhaps says more about my powers of observation than it does about his performance.) Special note that Matthew Morrison (Fabrizio!) should have “shirtless” written into every contract.
Highlights: “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” “A Wonderful Guy,” and “There’s Nothin’ Like a Dame.” For those numbers alone it’s worth it. So what’s my beef? you ask. “Medium rare,” I reply (it’s late, I’m tired). But here: I’m not sure it could be done better than this — and ultimately that’s the problem.
You’ll have to wait a week, though, to find out what Terry thought. Ooh! Cliffhanger…