There’s nothing quite as gay as a good old-fashioned Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. No matter how butch they try to make them, singing sailors will always be a little bit swishy, even to us.
But that’s OK, we like them that way!
In South Pacific, the award-winning revival now on stage at the Winspear Opera House, not only do the men dance together, they also dress in drag. There’s even a naked shower scene. (So make sure you’re in your seat no later than the ending of Scene 5 or you’ll be sorry).
The show itself is a little long. After all, the last time we heard “three hours” and “island” together, there was a goofball named Gilligan involved. But the lengthy duration is hardly noticeable in the gorgeous surroundings of the Winspear. The seats are comfy and the acoustics are fantastic.
Let this serve as our official harrumph, however, for the woefully inadequate restroom facilities. When we get our architecture degree, with God as our witness, there’ll never be a line for the women’s room again. And we’re not even broads. Or dames. (To speak in South Pacific terms). Hell, there was even a line for the men’s room.
But enough of our peanut-sized-bladder-induced rants. This production of South Pacific is very well done and the tale of love in the time of war is about as timeless as it gets. All the popular standards play just as well as we imagine they did when the show originated last century. After all, our first introduction to I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair was a Clairol commercial and we’ve been singing it ever since. And, of course, Some Enchanted Evening is always a crowd pleaser.
The cast is extremely solid, with Carmen Cusack and Jason Howard in the leads. It took us a few scenes to get used to Howard’s über-deep baritone, but to say he’s got a commanding presence is an understatement.
Yet as the rule often goes with Broadway shows, as loveable as the leads may be, it’s the secondary characters who often steal the show. It’s hard to top the pluck of Cusack and the boom of Howard, but Anderson Davis as Lt. Joseph Cable could just stand shirtless in the spotlight for every show in the Lexus Broadway Series and we’d get season passes. He’s got a chest to die for and a voice to match. [Swoon.]
All ogling aside, our heart truly belongs to Bloody Mary (and not just because she’s our favorite brunch-time drink). Portrayed by Keala Settle and made up to look like the love-child of Divine and Tangina from Poltergeist, she’s got an amazing voice and pitch-perfect comedic timing. And she could probably convince us to marry a Polynesian girl if she were left alone with us long enough.
All in all, this is a great kick-off for a long line of big Broadway shows at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. The inaugural season’s roster is spectacular and we can’t wait to see them all, but for now, we’re happy to spend an hour (or three) dreaming of Bali Ha’i.
Now through January 3
Tickets: $30 – $50
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora Street, Dallas