Pacific Overtures


Pacific Overtures


Book by  John Weidman
Music and Lyrics by  Stephen Sondheim
Additional Material by  Hugh Wheeler


2 Acts, Book Musical, Rated PG-13
Original Broadway Version (1976)

Two friends caught in the inevitable winds of change tell of Japan's painful and harrowing Westernization.

Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman (authors of Assassins)  mix elements of Kabuki theatre with the conventions of the Broadway musical in Pacific Overtures, a highly original, inventive, powerful, educational and surprisingly humorous theatrical experience. Considered by many to be the artistic pinnacle of the legendary Sondheim/Prince collaborations, this exploration of culture and imperialism pushes the boundaries of musical theatre farther than ever before.

Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853 mission to open trade relations with isolationist Japan through gunboat diplomacy forges an unlikely friendship between the samurai Kayama and the Americanized fisherman Manjiro. Kayama and Manjiro – and all of Japanese society – must face the wave of Westernization that follows.

Its epic scope, ethnic cast and subject matter, and sheer ambition make Pacific Overtures a unique and worthwhile effort for any theatre – large or small – looking for a challenge.



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Kelsey Grammer, who plays Scrooge in the Menken/Ahrens "A Christmas Carol" on NBC in 2004, was in a workshop production of the musical "Sunday in the Park with George" when he read for the guest role of Crane in "Cheers."

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