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What should NBC's next musical be?

"South Pacific" is considered to be one of the greatest musicals composed by Rodgers and Hammerstein opens at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport on May 23 and runs through July 14, 2013. Credit: Handout

NBC told its favorite newspaper this afternoon that another musical will be mounted next year at this time, following the huge success of last Thursday's breakout live production of "The Sound of Music.'

So what next? If you head here, the network's understandably very happy top entertainment executive, Robert Greenblatt, says lots of ideas are under consideration. But if you stay here, I'll tell you about the most obvious one: "South Pacific."

Do I need to bore you with all the reasons why? Glorious music, extremely well-known story; warm milieu; and reasonably easy to cast. If, that is, you can get the right cast. Obviously, NBC would want to get Matthew Morrison - he played Lt. Cable in the Lincoln Center revival - but maybe not get Kelli O'Hara who played Nellie Forbush.

Nothing against O'Hara, who's brilliant and is a peerless Broadway star, but the recent "Sound of Music" production seemed to prove that most viewers want their Rodgers and Hammerstein leading ladies with a little bit of straw in their hair. (O'Hara does come from Oklahoma, like Carrie Underwood.)

So, that leaves Reba McEntire. She can act, has a great voice, huge fan base, stage presence of all, has played Forbush before, some years ago at Carnegie Hall, when an all-star cast read (and acted the parts) on the hardest stage in the world.

The cast also included Alec Baldwin - but given the fact that most people who tuned in Thursday are probably not Baldwin fans insofar as they are Underwood fans, he might not get the call.

My final sales pitch: Watch Paul Gemignani direct the overture. If this isn't a crowd-pleaser, then what is? I think this would sound pretty good at the Grumman Studios too. 

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