On Wednesday, August 18, four days before it wraps up its monumental run, "South Pacific" will be broadcast on television. The airing will be part of PBS's "Live from Lincoln Center" (check local listings here), and will feature all the principal actors from the production's April, 2008, opening night, with the exception of Matthew Morrison, who is busy with a little thing called "Glee."
John Goberman, the executive producer of "Live from Lincoln Center" for the past 35 years, told me: "We're very happy to be able to broadcast South Pacific." The last LCT production to be aired, he added, was The Light in the Piazza, which, like South Pacific, was directed by Bartlett Sher.
According to Goberman, the South Pacific broadcast's director, Alan Skog, has worked carefully with Sher on a camera script, which details the shots to be used on August 18. "We will have a couple of run-throughs right before that night," Goberman said, "to polish things up."
Goberman, who was once a cello player at The Metropolitan Opera, said that "Live from Lincoln Center" choices generally incorporate music in some way. "For this kind of live-event broadcasting, things based on music give the experience a certain weight and character." (A 1998 broadcast of LCT's production of Twelfth Night, with Helen Hunt and Paul Rudd, was a rare instance where music had a relatively secondary role.)
Asked to name a few personal favorites from his career with "Live from Lincoln Center," Goberman replied: "All of them are favorites. I'm sure South Pacific will be no different in that respect."
BRENDAN LEMON is the American theater critic for the Financial Times and the editor of lemonwade.com.