The Theater: South Pacific in London

Noel Coward* sat in the front row. The Oliviers were there. So were banks of diplomats, café socialites and other famous faces. By the time the curtain went up on the first British showing of South Pacific, more than 2,300 had crowded into London's Drury Lane Theater.

By the end of the first act there was no doubt about its reception. Each song was rewarded with salvos of wild cheers. Time after time, applause threatened to hold up the show. Mary Martin's I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair brought down the house. After the final curtain and a dozen...

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