South Pacific: a new face for an old friend

South Pacific poster image

Designing a poster for a musical that everyone already knows is both fun and a little intimidating. The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic has been interpreted by designers for over half a century. Is there room for another one?

Apparently so.

Here’s my image for the Santa Monica High School production. For those who don’t know, South Pacific is based on James Michener’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, and won 10 Tony Awards on Broadway. Songs like “Some Enchanted Evening,” “There is Nothing Like a Dame,” “Bali Ha’i” and “Younger Than Springtime” are all from this play. The big splashy type, the palm trees and the chorus line of 1940’s pin-up girls are intended to remind the viewer of its history and scope. In a way, the show doesn’t require a lot of explanation; the image just needs to trigger your memory.

But the more profound aspect of the musical is the way in which it deals with racism — hence the little orange/tan pin-up girl. That’s what keeps the show relevant and powerful.

South Pacific opens March 1 at big, beautiful Barnum Hall. For tickets and more information, visit samohitheatre.org.

PS. My son Gabriel landed the role of expatriate Emile DeBecque. We’ll see if he can pull off a heroic middle-aged Frenchman while channeling a little Ezio Pinza!

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