Monday, April 14, 2008

Enchanted Afternoon

Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara in South Pacific.

It's been more than a week since I caught Lincoln Center's South Pacific revival, but the wonderful songs from that nearly pitch-perfect production are still resounding in my head. When I started crying during the overture, as the stage rolled back to reveal the 30(!)-piece orchestra, I knew it was going to be an emotional afternoon.

I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to go a musical and be so thoroughly moved and enchanted by the music. Usually if there are a couple of songs worth remembering I consider it an evening well spent. To hear a score in which nearly every number is emotionally vigorous is almost too much to hope for these days.

Another reason I was so moved is that it's my mother's favorite musical, and I'd never before seen a full production of it, just bits and pieces on TV from various movies and broadcasts. My mother and I don't have as much in common as I would like, so I appreciate these little patches of common ground when I find them.

The first time I remember hearing one of the songs was a Sunday morning in the late '70s or early '80s. It was "Happy Talk," and it was because my mother was watching the film on TV. I, of course, could only think about my needs and wanted her to turn it off so that we could go to the mall or a movie or something. This was pre-VCR, so it's not as if she could just pop in a tape and watch the rest.

Needless to say, I regret not sitting down to watch the rest of the movie with her. Does an apology count if it's nearly 30 years too late. Just in case: I'm sorry, Mom!

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