Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1949 musical, South Pacific was inspired by the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel “Tales of the South Pacific” by James A Michener. This novel dealt mainly with the issues of racism. The original Broadway production won ten Tony Awards and Rodgers, Hammerstein and Logan (director) were awarded the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The show is set towards the end of World War 2 where American and Japanese forces were involved in fierce combat over the sovereignty of small Pacific islands. An important aspect both in the conflict and this musical is the role of women in the military. This was a revolutionary idea in 1940. The cause of women taking their place in the Armed Forces was enhanced by the excellent work naval nurses did in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour which brought the US into the war. Subsequently, the needs of war suppressed all further argument and in 1942 a Senate Bill was passed into law establishing the “Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps” (WAACS). Nellie could have been one of the first into Theatre and into the life of a French Plantation Owner.

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