The History Behind South Pacific

Photo+courtesy+of+The+University+of+Texas+at+El+Paso
Back to Article
Back to Article

The History Behind South Pacific

Photo courtesy of The University of Texas at El Paso

Photo courtesy of The University of Texas at El Paso

Photo courtesy of The University of Texas at El Paso

Photo courtesy of The University of Texas at El Paso

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Kettle Moraine High School will be performing the first ever all-district fall musical, South Pacific. It’s been a while since Kettle Moraine has performed this musical , but students and teachers alike are excited to put on this All Campus Musical.

South Pacific is a book turned musical. The book, written by James A. Michener in 1947, Tales of the South Pacific, was transformed into a musical  by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. South Pacific mixes romance and history to create a humorous and informational story.

The musical tells the story of Nellie, a nurse who falls in love with Emile, a plantation owner whose Polynesian wife just passed. Also on the island, Navy Lieutenant Cable begins to fall for a native girl, Liat. Both Nellie and Lieutenant Cable struggle to get past their cultural prejudices for the people they’re falling for while everyone on the island worries about the war that’s coming closer to their cozy lifestyle.

Despite the musical being a fictitious story, the real history behind South Pacific is just as compelling as the singing and dancing. As mentioned, South Pacific is based off of the book Tales of the South Pacific. The book is not one straight forward story with a start middle and end, but rather an accumulation of short stories that all have one thing in common: Each story takes place on several South Pacific islands during World War II. The stories range anywhere from love to war, giving the audience a unique and authentic view of the war in the South Pacific islands. It all started on December 7th, 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. This set off the Pacific Theater, a grouping of battles that took place in the Pacific during the 1940s. After the attack, the United States joined the allied forces in World War II to take on the Axis Powers. 

When the United States joined the war, Japanese soldiers began infesting the Pacific islands. The islands were going to be turned into bases for fighting the Allies. Along with the help of other allied nations such as Australia, the U.S began to fight the Japanese off their islands.  The largest battle during the Pacific Theater was the Battle of Midway. The Battle of Midway was a pivotal fight in the war and took place six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After cracking a code from the Japanense, the United States learned that a much larger attack was being planned. Using the few planes they had left, the United States intercepted the attack while leaving a large dent in the Japanese Navy.  

Although the musical doesn’t tell the tales of the Pacific Theater, it gives interpretations of  realistic stories from the time period. The different stories of everyday people and the effects the war has on their lives turns into a unique musical that just can’t be missed! If you’d like to experience a snippet of the Pacific Theater, come on down  to the Kettle Moraine High School auditorium on November 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th. For more info, please visit kmsd.edu/campus_musical. Hope to see you there!