I had never heard of Paulo Szot before he was cast as Emile de Becque in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific, which begins previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater tomorrow. But I assumed that since he was coming from the world of opera that he would be a man of...um...stature and maturity? In other words, fat and old.
Then I saw pictures of him on Playbill.com, such as the one to the left of him and Kelli O'Hara. Wow, he's kinda hot, huh? So I guess in this version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show, Nellie and Emile aren't going to be dumpy and middle-aged, which is how they're typically cast. Indeed, the folks who've played Nelly and Emile in the past have tended to be of a certain age:
The cast for the current production seems to skew a little bit more on the younger side. Kelli O'Hara is 32, although she'll turn 33 during the course of the run of the show. I couldn't find Paulo Szot's birth date online, but as far as I can tell he started singing professionally in 1996, which means he's probably in his thirties as well.
Will the show work without the gravitas of more mature performers? Did the show ever work in the first place, or is it, as I've often contended, the most overrated musical of all time? I'll be seeing this production next week, the same day I'll be taking in the Roundabout Theater production of The 39 Steps. Look for my review of both shows early the following week.