Steven Suskin weighs in on the New Broadway Cast Recording of South Pacific, as well as the archival video of the original London production with Mary Martin:
It can, however, be a dangerous thing to allow modern-day interpreters to restore material that the authors saw fit to cut; these decisions were usually made for a pretty good reason. Consider Hammerstein and Logan’s original ending, which appears in their preliminary script of Jan. 11, 1949 (about eight weeks before the first performance). As the Seabees prepare to ship out, Cable comes back from Marie Louise Island — alive! “Jeez, we all thought you was dead!” says Billis. “I have been, dead and buried. But they dug me up again” says Cable — who immediately arranges to go back to Bali Ha’i, with a priest, to marry Liat. Which would make for a rather different South Pacific, don’t you think?