Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's South Pacific brought new realism to the musical. Opening in New York in 1949, it was set in the South Pacific in World War II, only four years after the war had ended. It told of love, racial prejudice, cultural clashes and the frustrations of that war in a musical at once enchanting and thought provoking. Adapted from two short stories by James Michener, it chronicles two love affairs - Lt Joe Cable with a Polynesian girl, and Nurse Nellie Forbush with Emile de Becque, a French planter. The show was full of such memorable Rodgers and Hammerstein numbers as 'Some Enchanted Evening', 'There is Nothing Like a Dame', 'I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy' and the lovely 'Younger Than Springtime' which they had actually written for a completely different show, but had been cut.
This photograph is of Lauren Kennedy as Nellie Forbush in the National Theatre production in 2001, singing 'I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair'. When the show was first produced at Drury Lane in 1952, Nellie was played by Mary Martin and among the nurses was a young actress called June Whitfield.