The Theater: Disenchanted Evening

On records and on paper, a Paris Opera basso, Roger Rico, seemed a natural to enter Broadway's South Pacific in the role that the Met's Ezio Pinza* created two years ago. After listening to his records and noting that he would be the first real Frenchman to play the hit musical's French planter, Co-Producers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II sent for Rico, auditioned and hired him.

Rico's seven weeks of rehearsal posed a special problem: he speaks no English. Patiently, with the help of a wire recorder, he learned his lines phonetically while...

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