Pacific Overtures tells the story of Japan's emergence
from a small country content in its isolation from the rest of
the world to its current position at the the forefront of international
politics. The play spans almost 120 years, beginning with Comm.
Matthew Perry's initial confrontation with the "Floating
Kingdom" in 1853. It chronicles the sacrifices the Japanese
people had to make in their social order, customs and dress in
order to achieve their current affluence. The style of the musical
is based on the ancient form of Japanese theatre known as Kabuki,
and unlike previous Broadway musicals which had only attempted
to capture the flavor of the East, Stephen Sondheim's score is
an accurate recreation of Oriental music.
Pacific Overtures opened at the Winter Garden on January
11, 1976 under the direction of Harold Prince. The production
ran for 193 performances and went on to win Tony Awards for "Best
Costume Design" and "Best Scenic Design." The
original cast included Mako, Soon-Teck Oh, Yuki Shimoda, Sab
Shimono and Isao Sato.