Opening March 18, Pacific Overtures (per tradition) features an all-Asian-American cast including Broadway actor David Rhee (Thoroughly Modern Millie) as the Reciter, Kent Haina as the Samuri Manjiro and Danny Bernardo as his friend the fisherman Kayama. The ensemble is composed of Chelsea Dolinar-Hikawa, Adrian Fontanilla, Jillian Anne Jocson, Erik Kaiko, Chip Payos, Nick Shoda, Peter Sipla and Keith Uchima.
"Many of the events and characters portrayed in the show — Japan's self-imposed isolation from the world, the fisherman Manjiro, the Tokugawa shogunate, the Meiji revolution and its consequences — are as familiar to an Japanese schoolchild as George Washington and the Revolutionary war are to Americans," according to Porchlight notes. "This rarely produced show mixes elements of traditional Japanese theatre with the Broadway musical."
In preparation for the production, Porchlight artistic director L. Walter Stearns and music director Eugene Dizon traveled to Tokyo and Shimoda, Japan. They experienced Japanese Kabuki and Noh theatre and visited the actual port where U.S. Admiral Commodore Perry sailed into the East. With their host, actress Haruna Tsuchiya, Stearns and Dizon retraced the legendary march along Admiral Commodore Perry's Avenue. Their adventures and research will be shared in a series of post-show audience discussions.
The creative team includes choreographer Brenda Didier, costume designer Carol J. Blanchard, scenic designer Kurt Sharp, lighting designer John Horan and stage manager Jennifer Kincaid. For information, call (773) 327-5252 or www.TicketMaster.com or visit porchlighttheatre.com.
Porchlight Music Theatre has produced award-winning interpretations of classic musicals and cutting-edge new works on intimate stages. The company has staged 37 shows including four world premieres, among them, The Teapot Scandals, its first work developed through Off the Porch, Porchlight's new works program, as well as seven Chicago premieres. Porchlight earned the most Jeff awards of any Chicago music theatre and the most After Dark Awards of any Chicago theatre in 2007. An Equity theatre since 2004, the company has already received a total of 29 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 11 Jeff Awards.