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Remembering and a Musical? "South Pacific" on Memorial Day

Remembering and a Musical? "South Pacific" on Memorial Day

In the New York Times this morning, Frank Rich has a lovely op-ed seeing the vintage musical South Pacific through the eyes of a modern audience on Memorial Day. He calls the clamor for tickets to the musical's revival, "surely the most unexpected cultural sensation the city has experienced in a while," with some spending up to $1,000 for the $120 ticket.

Why? The show has not only withstood the test of time, but has become again relevant. Rich muses that even during the broad musical numbers, the subject matter shines through. Audiences are forced to contemplate Iraq, remember those whose memory we honor tomorrow — even the racial conflicts depicted still feel alive.

He says, “South Pacific isn’t prowar or antiwar. But it makes you think about the costs." Maybe now is the window when the show is most relevant. He says maybe audiences want, "to glom onto an earlier America’s noble mission because we, unlike 'the greatest generation,' had none of our own. The real South Pacific returns us to the war as its contemporaries saw it, when the wounds were too raw to be healed by sentiment."


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He concludes beautifully:

And so as we watch that family gather at the end of South Pacific, both their future and their country’s destiny yet to be written, we weep for the same reason we often do when we experience a catharsis at the theater. We grieve deeply for our losses and our failings, even as we feel an undertow of cockeyed optimism about the possibilities of healing and redemption that may yet lie ahead.

Whether watching an old musical tomorrow, or barbecuing with friends, here's to remembering our losses and embracing hope for the future. Tomorrow at 3 p.m. is the National Moment For Remembrance — pause then for a moment and remember.

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Berlin Berlin 7 years
I saw this when I was pretty little on a school field trip to the Alhambra...shame I don't remember any of it other than that I loved the show!
stephley stephley 7 years
I have no problem with turning to Curly in times of stress - I myself have done it many times. My comment wasn't meant to bum people out, just to emphasize the all-purpose relevance of South Pacific's lyrics.
raciccarone raciccarone 7 years
Stephley, I didn't mean to change the subject, but when I think of children that age being cruel to one another, I have to pretend I'm Curly from Oklahoma or I become really angry.
stephley stephley 7 years
I'm sure Laurey's washed you right out of her life.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 7 years
People will say we're in love :sing:
raciccarone raciccarone 7 years
I recall growing up in Oklahoma, we'd always sing and dance and laugh - just like in the musicals. I had a girl named Laurey back then. So beautiful. Well, we got married and then I accidentally killed this surly farmhand named Jud. Well, you can imagine I had to flee before the law enforcement officials arrived but I always remember that corn. So high. High as an hippopotamus' eye. And of course Laurey. I heard she's remarried now. :bunny:
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 7 years
That's a lovely way to handle it stephley. I'm sorry she had to go through that. I'm so glad that people are going to see the theater as a way to remember and celebrate memorial day. How wonderful. :)
Jillness Jillness 7 years
"When my daughter started experiencing racial discrimination in kindergarten" That breaks my heart. I literally have tears in my eyes right now.
stephley stephley 7 years
When my daughter started experiencing racial discrimination in kindergarten, we used South Pacific to try and help her understand: You've got to be taught to be afraid Of people whose eyes are oddly made, And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade, You've got to be carefully taught. You've got to be taught before it's too late, Before you are six or seven or eight, To hate all the people your relatives hate, You've got to be carefully taught!."
brandiboop brandiboop 7 years
I LOVE the musical South Pacific!!! I think it is a great idea to modernize it, if they keep the same songs! :)
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