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Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific: In Concert From Carnegie Hall

143 customer reviews

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(Jun 06, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Broadway, like everyone, loves Reba McEntire. The redheaded Oklahoma firebrand took on the one-night-only concert role of Nellie Forbush on June 9, 2005—the role Mary Martin immortalized in the 1949 Rodgers & Hammerstein classic South Pacific—and the rialto’s toughest critics, led by The New York Times’ Ben Brantley, instantly surrendered. "Open-voiced and open-faced, she was born to play Nellie," Brantley wrote of the Carnegie Hall benefit performance, adding that the entire production was performed "in a state of nearly unconditional rapture. It was one of those nights when cynicism didn’t stand a chance." Happily that enchanted evening can be shared with fans everywhere when "SOUTH PACIFIC" IN CONCERT FROM CARNEGIE HALL comes to DVD. Completing the luxury casting are Broadway and Hollywood icons Brian Stokes Mitchell and Alec Baldwin, as, respectively, French planter Emile de Becque and wise guy sailor Luther Billis. The performance also aired on Thirteen/WNE! T New York’s GREAT PERFORMANCES on PBS in April/May.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's glorious score for South Pacific gets a surge of welcome new energy in this 2005 Carnegie Hall concert. Brian Stokes Mitchell (Kiss Me Kate, Ragtime) is in spectacular voice singing "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine," but the real discovery is country star Reba McEntire as Nellie Forbush. McEntire won raves when she replaced Bernadette Peters in Annie Get Your Gun, but her performance was never recorded and released to the general public. Now we can understand the raves for ourselves, because McEntire is a joy in the role that features such standards as "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" and "A Wonderful Guy." Those used to Mary Martin (which is nearly everybody) will need to get used to McEntire's scoops and twang, but it's not inappropriate for a character hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jason Danieley (The Full Monty) and Lillias White are both effective as Lieutenant Cable and Bloody Mary, respectively, and Alec Baldwin doesn't embarrass himself any more than he's supposed to as Billis. Because it's a concert performance, the singers carry books and don't wear costumes other than in "Honey Bun" (so the nurses jog in the surf and wash their hair wearing black gowns). But much of the story is conveyed through dialogue excerpts, so the 113-minute DVD is substantially longer than the 78-minute CD. --David Horiuchi

Special Features

  • 12-page booklet

Product Details

  • Actors: Reba McEntire, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Alec Baldwin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Rhino
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,781 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific: In Concert From Carnegie Hall" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 79 people found the following review helpful By dooby on July 7, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What superlatives are left to describe this concert? This is a truly exhilirating, incandescent performance filled with an all too rare quality, passion. The New York Times review described it best as "near complete rapture." For those who belittle the idea of Reba McEntire in a Broadway musical, take a look at this first before passing unjustified comments. It doesn't matter if she's a country singer, an opera singer or a rap singer, or if she is older than what Nellie Forbush should be. Anyone who can perform with this level of passion and conviction deserves unstinting praise. What a pity it was a one-night only performance. At least we have this DVD as a permanent keepsake. Brian Stokes Mitchell is in equally fine form as Emile de Becque, the French plantation owner, who deservedly brings the house down (and the concert itself to an almost minute-long standstill) with his moving rendition of "This Nearly Was Mine." It may only be a concert performance, without costumes or sets, but it puts many fully staged musicals to shame. All the supporting cast are equally commendable. My one tiny criticism is that the voice coach should have taught the children to sing "Dites Moi" with a more "neutral" accent. The children are supposed to be French Polynesian, children of "a cultured Frenchman." However, they sound more American than Nellie Forbush.

The picture quality on this DVD is absolutely gorgeous. When you consider that it was practically a last minute decision to film the concert at all, the camera crew, sound crew and all the technicians involved did a truly remarkable job. One of the finest live performance recordings I've had the pleasure to watch. The picture is presented in its original 1.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The score for South Pacific, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, is one of the richest, biggest and most romantic Broadway has ever seen. The show opened in 1949, set records and won just about every award there was. Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza starred as Nellie Forbush, a young nurse from Little Rock, and Emile de Becque, an older French planter. In its essence, South Pacific is the story of two romances. In one, between Nellie and de Becque, Nellie must face the consequences of her prejudices. She does, and overcomes them. In the other, between Lt. Joe Cable and Liat, Cable does not.

This concert version was staged without sets or costumes, but with a full orchestra and chorus. Reba McEntire plays Nellie, Brian Stokes Mitchell plays de Becque and Jason Danieley plays Cable. Lillias White is Bloody Mary, Liat's mother, and Alec Baldwin is Luther Billis. The entire cast is excellent, but this one-time performance would not have worked as well as it does without McEntire and Mitchell. They bring a natural command to their parts, they are believable as two people falling in love in the middle of a war. Most importantly, they sing superbly and in character.

South Pacific would not be the classic it is without the extraordinary Rodgers and Hammerstein score. Rodgers and Hammerstein were two hugely gifted pros at the top of their game when they wrote South Pacific. The score not only was carefully constructed to advance the story and, deliberately, to aim for hits, but to dig deeply into serious feelings about mature love, racial prejudice, uncertainty and plain joy. Consider a few examples:

--The score was written for Ezio Pinza, a basso profundo opera singer, and Mary Martin, a Broadway light coloratura.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Koga on June 8, 2006
Format: DVD
I second the comments made about the 'blow-off' of a review with 1 star. What may appear to be an odd casting decision has to be experienced first before any kind of judgment can be made, and of all the reviews submitted prior to this, that is the only one that has such a pious air! Obviously the 'critic' did not remember that Reba is a Broadway veteran of 'Annie Get Your Gun' and that Nellie is after all, from Little Rock, Arkansas!

The entire performance is a delight (I have it also on CD) from beginning to end, and if I had any quibbles or issues, it would be two...first, it would have been wonderful if some additional background material could have been included (rehearsal sequences, interviews with cast and director)...second (and a truly minor point), as wonderful a singer as Brian Stokes Mitchell is, it would have been a smoother transition had the DVD menu opened with an instrumental version of 'Some Enchanted Evening'.

But the DVD is a wonderful reminder of what happens when you experience live theater. Seeing Reba McEntire as Nellie makes one realize what added depth and heart the part can have. Brian Stokes Mitchell has an 'ab fab' voice, and even Alec Baldwin shows how a momentary lapse on stage can result in something charming and wonderful that makes him seem not so much a casting frill but a necessary part to the cast chemistry. And for those accounting types who think 'canned' music is just as good as live, I defy anyone to listen to the Orchestra of St. Luke's and tell me that singing and interacting with a live orchestra doesn't bring a special flair and sparkle to this performance.

Avoid stereotyping...listen may be pleasantly surprised and delighted, as I was and still am!
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Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific: In Concert From Carnegie Hall
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