WBT's South Pacific

Published: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 By: Megan Byrd Source: Brewster-Mahopac-Carmel Macaroni Kid

Review: South Pacific at Westchester Broadway Theatre

Another fabulous night out at the Westchester Broadway Theater! If you’ve not been to WBT yet, you really do need to give it a try. It is a fabulous night out with your friends or husband – even the family  - they offer a family kids musicals and family shows – family ticket packs are also available (which I did not realize until my trip there for this show!) I will definitely be looking into the upcoming holiday shows for families.

This was my fourth or fifth show at the WBT, I’m losing count, but it will definitely not be my last. As is typical, dinner prior to the show was wonderful. There are always 6-8 terrific options with at least a couple of new choices each show. Though I will admit, I went with my old stand-by, the Prime Rib! I was again pleased with my meal. My husband did try the show special for South Pacific – Nellie’s Sliced Baked Ham, served with pineapple, raisin rum sauce with mashed potatoes and vegetable – and he truly enjoyed it. In fact, I was very disappointed to go to try to sneak a taste from his plate only to find out he had finished it already! We opted to enjoy a specialty coffee (well in my case hot chocolate) drink during the show intermission. I was surprised when they were served in glasses instead of mugs as they were hot drinks, until I realized that they were actually souvenir glasses! What a nice surprise. And it didn’t matter what the beverages were served in, they were delicious! Hot chocolate and Bailey’s – perfect for a cool fall evening!

And as they say in show business… “And now, on with the show!” or in this case – the review of the show! South Pacific is a Rodgers and Hammerstein production that originally opened on Broadway in 1949. It is based on the book Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener. The book is a collection of 18 stories based on Michener’s wartime experiences and observations. These stories show the best and worst of human nature from racism to love and they are beautifully woven together in this show.

Set on islands in the South Pacific during World War II, audiences are given a glimpse of the loneliness and isolation felt by our soldiers deployed and how they might interact with the local peoples. In this case, we follow a nurse and an officer, both of whom fall in love during their deployment with people living on the islands. The nurse falls in love with a Frenchman who has fled France years before after he killed a man. He has 2 children from a previous marriage, whom when the nurse meets them, she realizes he had been in an inter-racial marriage prior to meeting her and she runs, not feeling she can accept this. The officer falls in love with a local Tonkinese girl. When pushed into a situation where he will need to marry her or lose her, he must also face his own prejudices which leads to one of my favorite songs in the show, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught”, a song about how racism and hatred are not in fact in-born traits, but rather as young children, we are “carefully taught” to hate those people our families hate. Truly gives one pause to reconsider how we are raising our own children with our own prejudices, and hopefully through realization, we can prevent them from being passed along to another generation. Though the very serious theme of racism is prevalent throughout the show, this is not a depressing show in the least.

The music and scenes depicting the life of the military personnel while deployed on the islands will keep you engaged and happy throughout the performance. If you have not seen South Pacific before – I highly recommend it – and better yet – go see it at the WBT! It is playing through mid-January (with a short break for some holiday shows in December.)