REVIEW ROUNDUP: “Pacific Overtures” Opened with a ShowScore of 80

Show-Score | May 5, 2017
“Pacific Overtures,” with songs by Stephen Sondheim, a book by John Weidman, and directed by John Doyle, opened on May  4, 2017 in New York City. “Pacific Overtures,” with songs by Stephen Sondheim, a book by John Weidman, and directed by John Doyle, opened on May 4, 2017 in New York City.


16 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 78.

Jesse Green
The New York Times 
ShowScore: 80
"Sometimes-glorious, sometimes-lackluster revival...The lack of clarity that results from a cast of 10 actors playing dozens of characters means that the shock you are meant to feel as Japan hurtles toward a violent modernity is diminished...But...something else is enhanced. The portrait of history as the sum of transactions between individuals who usually seem irrelevant was never as powerful as it is here...So let’s call the screen half full—which, with Sondheim’s songs, is more than enough."
Zachary Stewart
ShowScore: 85
"Weidman's book feels incredibly prescient in the context of today, when the political discussion has shifted from right-versus-left to open-versus-closed...John Doyle, who has previously distilled Sondheim in smartly pared-down productions, proves to be the ideal director and set designer for this show that is best presented with elegant simplicity...The sound is magnificently rich in this intimate space...'Pacific Overtures' also benefits from the performance of George Takei."
Marilyn Stasio
ShowScore: 95
"Doyle is such a wizard, he could probably stage a show on a postage stamp...The stylized performances of a superb Asian-American cast are ideally suited to this minimalist production of one of the great musicals of our time...Spectacle has no place in this production; it’s replaced with intimacy...The close staging also allows each lyric line to ring out with astonishing clarity...Every song seems perfectly pitched to every social atrocity executed in the name of progress."

“Pacific Overtures” was also reviewed by Adam Feldman of Time Out New York, Steven Ross of Front Mezz Junkies, Robert Hofler of The Wrap, Samuel L. Leiter of Theatre's Leiter Side, Robert Kahn of WNBC, Brian Scott Lipton of CitiTour, Steven Suskin of The Huffington Post, Howard Miller of Talkin' Broadway, Linda Winer of Newsday, Matt Windman of AM New York, David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter, Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal, and Elyse Sommer of CurtainUp.


The show was also reviewed by 86 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 81.

Top five adjectives describing the show:
Great singing, Intelligent, Clever, Absorbing, Entertaining

Jacqueline Parker, ShowScore: 90
See it if…"You want to see this show, which is not that easily accessible, in a way that is minimal and lets the words really tell the story." 
Don't see it if…"You really need the kimonos and other stuff to make the story come alive." 
JoeyFranko, ShowScore: 75
See it if…"You're a Sondheim fan and have never seen this show. The singing is very good." 
Don't see it if…"You want to see a clever interpretation. This is not it. Enough with the deconstruction!"
DeeCee, ShowScore: 69
See it if…"You are a Sondheim and George Takei fan and like minimal sets."
Don't see it if…"You want to see a splashy musical."

See the Show Page with all critic and member reviews.

Note: The ShowScore displayed above is current as of right now, and may be different from the ShowScore when the article was published.