Photo: Ryan Miller
Writer Bruce Vilanch poses during the arrivals for the opening night performance of “South Pacific” at the Center Theatre Group‘s Ahmanson Theatre on June 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Premiere Of “South Pacific” At The Ahmanson Theatre
Los Angeles Times
A ‘South Pacific’ reunion at the Ahmanson
June 3, 2010 | 4:20 pm
The opening night of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” at the Ahmanson Theatre proved to be an enchanted evening for old-school musical buffs and teen and twentysomething “Glee” fans alike.
Wednesday’s celebrity guests included stars of the 1958 movie — Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr and France Nuyen — as well as Shirley Jones and other members of the original Broadway production, which opened in 1949.
Outside the Ahmanson, an eclectic assortment of names passed before the cameras including Adrian Grenier, Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, Eva Marie Saint, Jane Kaczmarek, Eric Idle and Bruce Vilanch.
The most-anticipated arrival, however, was “Glee” heartthrob Matthew Morrison — Will Schuester, who leads the William McKinley High School show choir. Morrison originated the role of Lt. Joe Cable in the 2008 Lincoln Center Theater revival of “South Pacific,” which launched the current national tour.
Gleeks waving cellphone cameras rushed forward as soon as he appeared. Sporting a big grin and one of the orchid leis given to each VIP, Morrison signed autographs even as he was hustled inside when the overture began.
Culture Monster caught up with Gaynor, resplendent in blue sequins, at intermission. “This night is so emotional for me,” the film’s Nellie Forbush said, dabbing away tears. “The whole idea of having been a part of this is so beautiful.”
Backstage, Gaynor joined the current show’s director, Bartlett Sher, and stars including Carmen Cusack (Nellie), Rod Gilfry (Emile) and Anderson Davis (Joe Cable) as well as cast members and friends from 60 years of “South Pacific.”.