Friday, May 7, 2010

South Pacific.

I watched South Pacific last night for the first time in decades. (I don't have the heart to post a youtube clip here -- the film itself is so ravishing.)

M and I watched it together. I don't know if it's the age difference or a more general cultural difference in our backgrounds, but M isn't at all familiar with these golden age musicals that are so deeply embedded in my sensibility. (I was going to write "soul" but decided that was a little over the top. But only a little.) I have to admit I found that fact a little scandalous; it totally pushed my these-kids-coming-up-today-don't-know-anything-about-gay-culture!" button.

Anyway, I think he had fun and found it pretty interesting, even if he didn't thrill to the music as much as I do. (He especially liked Stewpot. How gay is Stewpot?) Besides the fact that this show is the apogee of the artform, it's a fascinating look at American preoccupations of the late 50s: race, class, foreign wars, American disillusionment, fear of Communism, anxiety about the end of a familiar way of life. It pretty jam-packed.

South Pacific was the first big musical production I performed in, at about age 15 I think. It figures heavily in my high school diary, which is why it's been on my mind. It was a production of the Putnam County Playhouse, the summer community theater in the town my family moved to when I was in eighth grade. I was in the chorus, so I was basically a sailor. I danced and sang my heart out and catcalled at the nurses. I was in gay boy heaven.


xoxoxoe said...

He may just not be as into that particular musical as you (as opposed to all musicals.) It depends on what you're exposed to.

I've never really seen South Pacific, so you've got me wanting to watch it. My mom had all the cast albums from shows she had seen on Bway when she lived in NYC in the 50s: My Fair Lady, Pajama Game, Bells are Ringing, so I grew up knowing those songs, and then watched all the Gene Kelly musicals with my grandmother and fell in love with him as he danced and roller-skated through NYC. Musicals and everything) always had a New York backdrop for me! I grew up on more Rodgers & Hart than Rodgers and Hammerstein, but did like Oklahoma and especially, Carousel. Cry like a baby whenever I hear "You'll never walk alone"...

Steven said...

Liz, I definitely recommend it, even if only for the shirtless sailors and the gorgeous cinematography. It's really beautiful.