Amon Miyamoto, who directed the all-Japanese production of the work as part of the Lincoln Center Festival in July 2002, will direct a new staging of the work to be performed in English with Asian-American actors.
Pacific Overtures follows the introduction of Japan to westernization from the landing of Commodore Matthew Perry in the "Floating Kingdom" of Nippon in 1853 over 150 years.
The musical features the music and lyrics of Sondheim and a book by John Weidman with additional material by Hugh Wheeler. The design team for Pacific Overtures features Rumi Matsui (sets) and Emi Wada (costumes). Paul Gemignani handles music direction.
The Lincoln Center Festival staging featured a reconfigured setting which allowed the audience to view the Japanese rather than an American perspective. In the program notes, director Miyamoto explained, "Pacific Overtures was a great experiment to be added to Broadway because the play explored the new possibility of musical theatre as a form of cultural exploration. In October 2000 the first production of Pacific Overtures was performed in Japan by New National Theatre, Tokyo. It was staged not in a decorative Kabuki style, but rather in Noh style. A simple setting encourages the imaginative ability of the audience. I believe this is one of the most privileged aspects of stage performances."
Pacific Overtures debuted at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre on January 11, 1976, and ran for 193 performances. Originally directed by Hal Prince, the work garnered nine Tony nominations, winning two: Best Costume Design (Florence Klotz) and Best Scenic Design (Boris Aronson). The Sondheim score includes "The Advantages of Floating in the Middle of the Sea," "There Is No Other Way," "Four Black Dragons," "Chrysanthemum Tea," "Poems," "Welcome to Kanagawa," "Someone in a Tree," "Lion Dance," "Please Hello," "A Bowler Hat," "Pretty Lady" and "Next."