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Pacific Overtures (1976)

Set in 1853 Japan, Pacific Overtures follows the Westernization of Japan, mainly through the story of Kayama, a samurai, and Manjiro, a fisherman. The lives of both men are radically changed by the coming of American ships to Japan.

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(book), (additional material)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tamate / Samurai / Storyteller / Swordsman
Yuki Shimoda ...
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Isao Sato ...
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Ernest Harada ...
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Mark Syers ...
Patrick Kinser-Lau ...
Ernest Abuba ...
Timm Fujii ...
Son / Priest / Girl / Noble / British Sailor
Haruki Fujimoto ...
Servant / Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry
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Williams / Lord of the South
Jae Woo Lee ...
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Storyline

Set in 1853 Japan, Pacific Overtures follows the Westernization of Japan, mainly through the story of Kayama, a samurai, and Manjiro, a fisherman. The lives of both men are radically changed by the coming of American ships to Japan.

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Musical

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Details

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Release Date:

1976 (Japan)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the original Broadway production, which was videotaped for Japanese public television, and broadcast with subtitles. See more »

Quotes

Reciter: Yes! The arrangement of the bows. First, for the Emperor, descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu, all-knowing and all-powerful, ruler absolute! One year old. Second, for the Shogun, protector of the kingdom, keeper of the peace. Seldom seen. Third, for the Lords of the South, vassals to the Shogun, loyal to their master. Not for long.
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Connections

Referenced in Anatomy of a Song (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent production of an interesting musical
20 September 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Pacific Overtures is not one of Stephen Sondheim's best, and it's easy to see why critics were divided by it and it doesn't have the best of stories in the world. It does however have one of his greatest songs in Someone in a Tree(Sondheim himself thought so), it is interesting for the use of Kabuki and the lyrics as ever with Sondheim are very intelligently crafted. And this performance is a classic. The production values aren't grand and orchestra doesn't have the epic sweep of some of Sondheim's other musicals and other performances of his work. However the costumes and sets are pretty to watch with an authentic Oriental style and the orchestra still play beautifully. The drama is compellingly staged, with poignancy and power in abundance, and Please Hello in particular matches the mixed styles used in the song. The songs are excellent across the board, especially Mako's definitive performance- if you're in doubt see his rendition of There is No Other Way- and Alan Ing, Chrysanthemum Tea shows complete command of the lyrics and Welcome to Kanagawa is funny. All in all, Pacific Overtures is interesting and this 1976 production with the original cast if memory serves correct is just great. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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