The Roundabout Theatre Company and Gorgeous Entertainment Inc. presented the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman musical which began previews Nov. 12, 2004 and opened Dec. 2 for a run that closed Jan. 30 at Broadway's Studio 54. PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker produced the album.
Pacific Overtures follows the introduction of Japan to western civilization, beginning with the landing of Commodore Matthew Perry at the "Floating Kingdom" of Nippon in 1853. Setting the stage afloat, the revival evokes the old world of shoguns, screens, poems, rice, tea, bows and flowers to present the story of a fisherman and a samurai who are sent to rid the secluded island nation of the encroaching "black ships" of America.
Amon Miyamoto directed and choreographed the new revival performed in English with Asian American actors.
Tony Award winner B.D. Wong (M. Butterfly) starred as the Reciter with a cast that featured the original Broadway cast members Alvin Y. F. Ing and Sab Shimono. The ensemble also included Evan D'Angeles, Joseph Anthony Foronda, Yoko Fumoto, Fred Isozaki, Francis Jue, Darren Lee, Hoon Lee, Michael K. Lee, Ming Lee, Telly Leung, Paolo Montalban, Alan Muraoka, Mayumi Omagari, Daniel Jay Park, Hazel Anne Raymundo, Yuka Takara and Scott Watanabe.
Pacific Overtures features the music and lyrics of Sondheim and a book by Weidman with additional material by Hugh Wheeler. Paul Gemignani (Assassins) handles music direction. Orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick. The design team features Rumi Matsui (sets and masks), Junko Koshino (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Dan Moses Schreier (sound). The 79-1/2 minutes album contain 18 tracks including a bonus track from a reading of the original production, with Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince performing the cut song "Prayers."
The track listing is as follows:
2. The Advantages of Floating in the Middle of the Sea
3. “Kayama Yesaemon. A samurai, but one of little consequence.”
4 There Is No Other Way
5 Four Black Dragons
6. “Disaster! The Americans insist upon landing.”
7. Chrysanthemum Tea
8. “My Lord Governor of Uraga…”
10. Welcome to Kanagawa
11. March to the Treaty House
12. Someone in a Tree
13. “Whatever happened inside the treaty house…”
14. Please Hello
15. A Bowler Hat
16. Pretty Lady
PS Classics recorded the cast album Feb. 1. The label has previously produced the cast albums for the recent Sondheim revivals of The Frogs and Roundabout's Tony Award-winning Assassins.
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 ten Tony nominations, winning two: Best Costume Design (Florence Klotz) and Best Scenic Design (Boris Aronson). (Take a look at the original 1976 playbill in the Playbill Archives feature.)
For more information, visit www.psclassics.com.