The Classic Musical “South Pacific” Gets Its Due in Chicago

“South Pacific” is a real treat—especially in this national tour rendition, based on the 2008 Tony Award-winning production at Lincoln Center.

Strong cast members with wonderful voices tell the romantic story of two couples on a tropical island during World War II and the challenges that wartime brings them.

Baritone Marcelo Guzzo, who has performed with opera companies around the country, plays the French plantation owner Emile de Beque. Singing “Some Enchanted Evening” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein score, it’s impossible not to be enchanted by Guzzo’s rich tone and impressive range. His beloved is Ensign Nellie Forbush, a Southern gal from Little Rock, a role played with alacrity by beautiful Chicago native Jennie Sophia, who has many Chicago and regional theater credits to her name. Her bright, bird-like voice shines in many numbers, including the well-known “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.”

Lt. Joseph Cable, played by Shane Donovan, is another pleasure to watch, both for his handsomeness—pretty much every woman’s officer-and-a-gentleman fantasy—and the depth of his singing. Another standout performance was Christian Marriner as Luther Billis, a funny, womanizing sailor. And all the sailors in the cast pull out all the stops for the raucous, well-choreographed number “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame.”

If you love romance and musicals that leave you with songs running through your head, check out this show at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. It’s no Lincoln Center, but it’s pretty darn good.

“South Pacific” runs approximately two and a half hours, and it’s playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, at 151 W. Randolph St., through February 26. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 800-775-2000 or visit broadwayinchicago.com.