Pacific Overtures (Live on Broadway) - 1976 Original Broadway Cast - Digital Video
The cast for this production (playing various roles): Mako (in the lead role as the Reciter), Soon-Teck Oh, Yuki Shimoda, Sab Shimono, Isao Sato, Alvin Ing, Ernest Harada, James Dybas, Mark Hsu Syers, Patrick Kinser-Lau, Ernest Abuba, Larry Hama, Jae Woo Lee, Freddy Mao, Tom Matsusaka, Conrad Yama, Timm Fujii, Haruki Fujimoto, Freda Foh Shen and Gedde Watanabe.
The music and lyrics for Pacific Overtures was written by Stephen Sondheim, and the book was written by John Weidman. The musical direction was by Paul Gemignani, with choreography by Patricia Birch, orchestrations by Johnathan Tunick, costumes by Florence Kotz, and (a uniquely impressive) set design by Boris Aronson. The production was directed and produced by Hal Prince.
Review: Pacific Overtures is one of Stephen Sondheim's most rewarding but least-appreciated works. Part of the reason is it's been one of the least-staged Sondheim shows due to its unusual requirements: following the conventions of the Japanese Noh play, it uses an all-Asian, all-male cast, and authentic instruments such as the shamisen. As a slice of history, John Weidman's book is fascinating: In 1853, Japan's borders were closed to all foreigners until the arrival of American Commodore Matthew Perry forced the opening of trade relations. Sondheim's score captures the delicacy of Japanese verse ("Poems"), a blackly humorous scene of the emperor's refusal to acknowledge the American ships ("Chrysanthemum Tea"), Gilbert & Sullivan-esque patter ("Please Hello"), and the most beautiful song ever written about prostitution (the lyric men's trio "Pretty Lady"). Worthy of special mention is the song Sondheim has often claimed as his best ever, "Someone in a Tree," which describes the crucial meeting in the treaty house from the perspective of different characters on the outside. Over a quarter century after its 1976 Broadway debut, Pacific Overtures began to enjoy increased attention from theater companies, culminating in a Broadway revival in 2004.