Saturday, April 07, 2007


On this date in 1949, one of the greatest musicals of all time premiered on Broadway and played there for 1,595 performances or five years. It starred the Amazing Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza and the ultra amazing Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary! At the time it closed, it was the fifth-longest running show in Broadway history.
It is generally considered to be one of the greatest musicals of all time and a number of its songs, such as "Bali Ha'i," "Younger than Springtime," and "Some Enchanted Evening," have become worldwide standards. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. The play is based on two short stories by James A. Michener from his book Tales of the South Pacific, which itself was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948. Also in the cast were Myron McCormick, Betta St. John, and William Tabbert . (remember the dad on the Patty Duke Show?) Although De Becque and Forbush were already fully developed characters in Michener's stories, at some point during the creation of South Pacific, Rodgers and Hammerstein came to have both Pinza and Martin specifically in mind as playing these two roles. Pinza was a well-known opera basso and Martin was, with Ethel Merman, perhaps the leading Broadway musical comedienne of the era. The subsequent music, and its presentation within the show, was therefore tailored for the voices of Pinza and Martin.To celebrate the centenary of Richard Rodgers' birth in 2002, the Royal National Theatre reproduced the musical with celebrated director Trevor Nunn directing. Two songs were cut from the original. One was reinstated for the movie version. These were "My Girl Back Home" and "The Lovliness of Evening" which was used later for R&H's televesion musical Cinderella on CBS. Today is also Billie Holliday's birthday-- what an amazing performer she was and good old James Garner is eighty years old this day. A toot for me: I have learned through official congrats and notice that I had more personal camera and photographic sales in March of this year than any other salesman in the fifteen stores of the Ritz district that I am in. Well that makes me proud! Well, I'm off to pay my rent and off to another busy day at work!

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