Friday, July 18, 2008

This actually was his (show)

I was a bit disappointed to find Kelli O'Hara's name on the not-appearing-tonight flier stuffed in our Playbills the other night at LCT's South Pacific, my recent ambivalence her new album notwithstanding. Her understudy was decent enough, but just not the same. Luckily, we got to enjoy the memorable Brazilian opera singer and now Tony-award-winning Broadway star Paulo Szot, in the lead male role of Emile de Beque. That man knows how to command a stage without really seeming to try too hard. Such a wonderful voice too. M. and I noted how his voice stood out as having much more power behind it than most of the other performers. The show, one of those classics by Rodgers & Hammerstein that are filled with famous melodies from curtain to curtain, definitely felt true to its origins. The production doesn't fuss with allusions to present day sentiments. It felt like a revival in the truest sense, free of attempts at "updating" it. That's not to say I don't respect the importance and potential of doing that for classic plays and musicals. If anything, the show erred on the side of being respectful at the expense of pizzaz. Not a problem, as there was more than enough soul in Szot's singing to go around.

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