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A ‘South Pacific’ reunion at the Ahmanson

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The opening night of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘South Pacific’ at the Ahmanson Theatre proved to be an enchanted evening for old-school musical buffs and teen and twentysomething ‘Glee’ fans alike.

Wednesday’s celebrity guests included stars of the 1958 movie -- Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr and France Nuyen -- as well as Shirley Jones and other members of the original Broadway production, which opened in 1949.

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Outside the Ahmanson, an eclectic assortment of names passed before the cameras including Adrian Grenier, Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, Eva Marie Saint, Jane Kaczmarek, Eric Idle and Bruce Vilanch.

The most-anticipated arrival, however, was ‘Glee’ heartthrob Matthew Morrison -- Will Schuester, who leads the William McKinley High School show choir. Morrison originated the role of Lt. Joe Cable in the 2008 Lincoln Center Theater revival of ‘South Pacific,’ which launched the current national tour.

Gleeks waving cellphone cameras rushed forward as soon as he appeared. Sporting a big grin and one of the orchid leis given to each VIP, Morrison signed autographs even as he was hustled inside when the overture began.

Culture Monster caught up with Gaynor, resplendent in blue sequins, at intermission. ‘This night is so emotional for me,’ the film’s Nellie Forbush said, dabbing away tears. ‘The whole idea of having been a part of this is so beautiful.’

Backstage, Gaynor joined the current show’s director, Bartlett Sher, and stars including Carmen Cusack (Nellie), Rod Gilfry (Emile) and Anderson Davis (Joe Cable) as well as cast members and friends from 60 years of ‘South Pacific.’.

Click on the jump to see more photos

--Karen Wada

Related:

Theater review: ‘South Pacific’ at the Ahmanson Theatre

Carmen Cusack, who plays Nellie Forbush greets the 1958 film’s Nellie, Mitzi Gaynor.

France Nuyen, who played Liat in the film, and her stage counterpart Sumie Maeda

Actress Roslynd Lowe Mass of the original Broadway cast

BarBara Luna and Shirley Jones, both of the original Broadway cast

‘South Pacific’ film stars France Nuyen and John Kerr

Actor Adrian Grenier sans his Entourage

Actress Jane Kaczmarek

‘Dexter’ star Michael C. Hall and his wife, Jennifer Carpenter

Eric Idle and his wife, Tania Kosevich

Actress Jodi Long

Jeff Lynne of the band ELO

Actress Lara Pulver

Actor Alex Mapa and actress Charlayne Woodard

Writer Bruce Vilanch

Actor Ntare Mwine

‘South Pacific’ director Bart Sher with Matthew Morrison

--Karen Wada Top photo: Matthew Morrison arrives at opening night of ‘South Pacific’ at the Ahmanson. All photos by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging


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