Pacific Overtures Reviews
Washington Post- Somewhat Recommended
"...Somewhere on the musical-theater periodic table between the work of Bertolt Brecht and Rodgers and Hammerstein sits "Pacific Overtures." A geopolitical history lesson wrapped in a Japanese fable wrapped in a Broadway musical, the show has a score that's dauntingly clever even by the standards of Stephen Sondheim's elevated genius bar."
"...The score, with music and lyrics by Sondheim, also simply sounds lovely filling the openness of director Ethan Heard's in-the-round staging, grazing the graceful, watercolor-hued screens set designer Chika Shimizu has wrapped around the Max Theatre. Alexander Tom conducts a nine-piece orchestra - complete with a booming taiko war drum - that breathes vitality into those plunking, repeated quarter notes that so sing of Sondheim."
BroadwayWorld- Highly Recommended
"...The clash of cultures -between West and East-is portrayed with poetic and musical flourish in Signature Theatre's production of Stephen Sondheim's rarefied and insightful Pacific Overtures. This very specialized of musicals should now appeal to a larger audience thanks to the savvy, relevant and comprehensive direction by Ethan Heard."
Talkin Broadway- Recommended
"...In keeping with the authors' intentions, Pacific Overtures uses adaptations of Japanese staging techniques to tell the story. Commodore Perry (Nicholas Yenson), leader of the American flotilla, and his soldiers wear masks depicting the "barbarian invaders" with enormous eyes and large noses, as do the European generals who join the diplomatic assault on Japan in the second act. (Sondheim's brilliant "Please Hello" ensemble number introduces each nation's representative with a pastiche of its music: John Philip Sousa for the Americans, Gilbert and Sullivan for Great Britain, etc.) Huang also designed winning life-size puppets, operated by cast members, that become the dramatic centers of their scenes."
DC Theater Arts- Recommended
"...Pacific Overtures may be a show that is easier to admire than love. But in this gorgeously detailed production, the admiration is well-earned, and each moment justifies the audience’s interest and engagement."