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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Reciter / Shogun / Jonathan Goble
...
Tamate / Samurai / Storyteller / Swordsman
Yuki Shimoda ...
Abe - First Councillor
...
Manjiro
Isao Sato ...
Kayama
...
Shogun's Mother / Observer / Merchant / American Admiral
Ernest Harada ...
Physician / Madam / British Admiral
...
Second Councillor / Old Man / French Admiral
Mark Syers ...
Samurai / Thief / Soothsayer / Warrior / Russian Admiral / British Sailor (as Mark Hsu Syers)
Patrick Kinser-Lau ...
Shogun's Companion / Dutch Admiral / British Sailor / Girl
Ernest Abuba ...
Samurai / Adams / Noble
Timm Fujii ...
Son / Priest / Girl / Noble / British Sailor
Haruki Fujimoto ...
Servant / Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry
...
Williams / Lord of the South
Jae Woo Lee ...
Fisherman / Sumo Wrestler / Lord of the South
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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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Musical

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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

Samurai: The Americans insisted that their mission was a peaceful one. But because we did not know if we could trust them, we chose a samurai whose task it was to muster our defenses. And that samurai was me. I ordered canvas screens to be stretched across the cliffs at Kanagawa. Behind the screens I was able to conceal five thousand armored swordsmen, carrying enormous bows, all of them on horseback. A most impressive force. And with the canvas masking them, our enemy might think that twice as many ...
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Welcome To Kanagawa
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Performed by Ernest Harada, Patrick Kinser-Lau, Timm Fujii and Gedde Watanabe
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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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