The Playgoer: Giving a Damn about Scarlett

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Giving a Damn about Scarlett

Michael Riedel swears today by his scoop last week that the estimable Andre Bishop and Bartlett Sher are really, truly considering little Scarlett Johansson to star in their Lincoln Center revival of "South Pacific" next season.

I'll turn it over to the chatrooms for the heavy-duty griping on this. But all I can say is: is this what it takes to justify those $100+ tickets now? One would think that any A-list revival of R&H by a well-respected director at a reputable company would sell well. So why is this necessary?

Am I being unfair to Johansson sight unseen? Perhaps. But I also know no matter how surprisingly-not-terrible she may be (and "a musical-theater fan since childhood," we are reassured) that does not qualify you to carry off one of the greatest female roles in the MT repertory 8 times a week. Opposite a leading opera star, no less. Even Reba McIntyre--an actual singer whose "Annie Get Your Gun" was one of the greatest MT performances I've ever seen--was not fully up to the dramatics of the part in the Carnegie Hall concert version. To say "Mary Martin, she ain't" about Ms. Johannson, barely scratches the surface of what seems to be wrong here.

I'm assuming she's at least auditioning. Let's see if Riedel can confirm that.

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