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South Pacific Begins UK Tour at Barbican in Aug

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The long-rumoured transfer of the Lincoln Center's revival of South Pacific to the Barbican Centre will go ahead this summer with the award-winning musical running from 15 August to 1 October 2011 before touring to Milton Keynes, Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol.

Bartlett Sher's production, which won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, will dock at the Barbican with EastEnder Samantha Womack (nee Janus) reportedly in negotiations to star as Nellie Forbush.

The 1949 Rogers and Hammerstein musical was last seen in the West End ten years ago when it was revived by Trevor Nunn at the National Theatre. That outing won Philip Quast the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Emile de Becque. South Pacific was also toured by UK Productions in 2007.

The New York revival starred Kelli O'Hara as nurse Nellie Forbush and Tony winner Paulo Szot as Emile DeBecque, the French plantation owner who falls for her. Joe Cable was originally played by Matthew Morrison, who is now better known as teacher Will Schuester in Glee. He was replaced later in the run by Andrew Samonsky due to Morrison's TV schedule.

The revival has musical staging by Christopher Gattelli with musical direction by Ted Sperling. Sets are by Michael Yeargan, lighting by Donald Holder, costumes by Catherine Zuber, sound by Scott Lehrer and original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett.

For the UK transfer, the Daily Mail reports that Samantha Womack, currently playing Ronnie Branning in EastEnders, is in negotiations to play to Nellie. Womack's previous stage credits include a 2004 tour of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal and, in the West End, Guys and Dolls and Grease.

South Pacific will commence its national tour in Milton Keynes on 12 October, going on to play the Palace Theatre, Manchester and the Theatre Royal Glasgow before finishing at the Bristol Hippodrome on 3 December 2011. The Mail also reports that the production will return to the Barbican in 2012 after completing its tour.


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