South Pacific: Paradise Rewritten

South Pacific: Paradise Rewritten

by Jim Lovensheimer
     
 

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Rodgers and Hammerstein's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "South Pacific" has remained a mainstay of the American musical theater since it opened in 1949, and its powerful message about racial intolerance continues to resonate with twenty-first century audiences.
Drawing on extensive research in the Rodgers and the Hammerstein papers,

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Overview

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "South Pacific" has remained a mainstay of the American musical theater since it opened in 1949, and its powerful message about racial intolerance continues to resonate with twenty-first century audiences.
Drawing on extensive research in the Rodgers and the Hammerstein papers, including Hammerstein's personal notes on James A. Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, Jim Lovensheimer offers a fascinating reading of "South Pacific" that explores the show's complex messages and demonstrates how the presentation of those messages changed throughout the creative process. Indeed, the author shows how Rodgers and especially Hammerstein continually refined and softened the theme of racial intolerance until it was more acceptable to mainstream Broadway audiences. Likewise, Lovensheimer describes the treatment of gender and colonialism in the musical, tracing how it both reflected and challenged early Cold War Era American norms. The book also offers valuable background to the writing of "South Pacific," exploring the earlier careers of both Rodgers and Hammerstein, showing how they frequently explored serious social issues in their other works, and discussing their involvement in the political movements of their day, such as Hammerstein's founding membership in the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. Finally, the book features many wonderful appendices, including two that compare the original draft and final form of the classic songs "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair" and "I'm In Love With a Wonderful Guy."
Thoroughly researched and compellingly written, this superb book offers a rich, intriguing portrait of a Broadway masterpiece and the era in which it was created.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lovensheimer's remarkable account of "South Pacific" firmly situates the show in late 1940s America, showing how Rodgers and Hammerstein used their 'enchanted evening' also to explore issues of race, gender, and national identity still resonant today."-Tim Carter, David G. Frey Distinguished Professor of Music, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of "Oklahoma!" The Making of an American Musical

"With this extraordinary new book, Jim Lovensheimer portrays a multidimensional "South Pacific" — one that not only soared with beautiful melodies but also addressed major social and political issues of its day, from racism to colonialism. Lucid and enlightening, South Pacific: Paradise Rewritten sets a model for studying Broadway's iconic shows in meaningful contexts."-Carol J. Oja, William Powell Mason Professor, Harvard University

"Jim Lovensheimer traces how Rodgers and Hammerstein transformed James Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel into a Broadway smash hit. In considering why "South Pacific" remains lodged in our collective unconscious, he ingeniously teases out its postwar racial politics, gender constructions, and colonial discourse."-bruce d. mcclung, University of Cincinnati, and author of "Lady in the Dark": Biography of a Musical

"Fascinating. Unquestionably a major addition to the literature on this particular show, on Rodgers and Hammerstein, and on the American musical in general." -TalkinBroadway.com

"[An] invigorating study...a highly enlightening book on the act of creating a musical itself." —Times Literary Supplement

"A very thorough, meticulous, and engrossing study of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific...May serve as a model for other books and other landmark Broadway musical." —Fontes Artis Musicae

"Covers a wide range of fascinating aspects of South Pacific, providing a scene by scene and issue by issue discussion of how this musical came to be." —Brad Hathaway - Theater Shelf

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195377026
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
08/24/2010
Series:
Broadway Legacies Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jim Lovensheimer is Assistant Professor of Musicology at Vanderbilt University.

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