This blog would be criminally remiss if it failed to note that last Saturday night Kelli O'Hara gave her final performance as Nellie Forbush before going on a seven-month leave to have a baby. There was much emotion at the curtain call: "Tears, tears, and more tears," according to the show's stage manager, Michael Brunner. Somebody brought forth flowers. O'Hara said a few words.

It was what O'Hara wrote later, however, in a backstage message to the cast and musicians and crew, that for me summarized the grace, talent, and class that the actress has brought to South Pacific over the past year. Much of O'Hara's message is too private, too within-the-family, to publish. So let this part of it stand for the whole: "Thank you for letting me be a part of it all," O'Hara wrote. "I look so forward to the day I waddle back in, this fall, to join you once again."

BRENDAN LEMON is the American theater critic for the Financial Times and the editor of