The U.S. had been an Asian empire at least since the Spanish-American War. But the engagements in the Pacific in World War II brought the culture conflicts of East and West home more thoroughly than ever before, penetrating even that most popular and American of entertainments, musical comedy. The result was two of the finest works by the leading post-war words-and-music team, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
The Alpha Players of Florissant have definitely taken on an ambitious production in their staging of South Pacific. This lavish musical is set against the backdrop of American and Japanese hostilities in the islands of the south pacific during WWII.
There's literal and literary darkness at the heart of the nearly flawless revival of South Pacific at the Fox. The former derives from Donald Holder's lighting design, which relies heavily on follow spots combined with dim general illumination. The latter derives from the Joshua Logan/Oscar Hammerstein book and the James Mitchener short stories on which it's based. Together, they remind us that this theatrical classic is not just a musical, but a drama as well. In South Pacific, boy gets girl, boy abandons girl, boy dies and everybody else goes off to war.