Pacific Overtures
Closed 1h 30m
Pacific Overtures

Pacific Overtures NYC Reviews and Tickets

(193 Reviews)
Members say
Great singing, Intelligent, Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining

About the Show

George Takei stars in Classic Stage Company's revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical about a samurai and a fisherman caught up in the westernization of the East.

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Member Reviews (193)

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982 Reviews | 343 Followers
Intelligent, Disappointing, Great show hobbled by director, Wonderful music

See it if you love Sondheim; you'll hear his fabulous score/lyrics. Brave Doyle's misguided paring to experience S's brilliance. Impt history lesson.

Don't see it if you've seen a good production. CSC's does not fully engage emotions. Lots of male voices, few female. Distracting staging ex: fabric strips Read more

716 Reviews | 219 Followers
Enchanting, Clever, Intelligent, Historical, Quirky

See it if History lesson set to music. I liked the minimalist staging. The songs were interesting and well performed.

Don't see it if The characters were shallow. There was little dramatic tension. The history wasn't entirely accurate.

677 Reviews | 190 Followers
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if you want to hear Sondheim's rapturous score elegantly sung in a rarely-revived, if stripped down & highly edited, masterpiece.

Don't see it if You're a Sondheim purist. The minimalism distills the show's message & robs the musical of is grandeur. The edits cut the intended impact. Read more

688 Reviews | 116 Followers
Ambitious, Great staging, Intelligent, Slow, Entertaining

See it if Classic Doyle streamlining doesn't mar Sondheim's thematic concerns Beautiful stage imagery enhanced by artful singing; chamber quality

Don't see it if Despite quality production, piece has a truncated feel Several noteworthy songs cut, ending has an abrupt feel to it but excellent Sondheim

506 Reviews | 1000 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Great writing, Relevant, Resonant

See it if history.. Sondheim.. singing.. Sondheim relevance and Sondheim compromise vote... partners 95 my 90 great set

Don't see it if you are a purist and need the original 1974? rendition. many songs cut and now reduced to 90 minutes

505 Reviews | 729 Followers
Great staging, Thought-provoking, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you like Sondheim, classic musicals, Asian themes, or stripped-down productions. Doyle also makes great use of the minimalistic staging.

Don't see it if you need a strong resolution. The ending of this show felt rushed to me, but that's a larger issue with the book--not the direction.

563 Reviews | 194 Followers
Clever, Great singing, Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if You want great singing combined w/great lyrics. You want to see a story of Japan from an Asian perspective.

Don't see it if You hate Sondheim. You love the original Pacific Overtures & don't want any changes.

543 Reviews | 133 Followers
Great music, Entertaining, Great singing, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy using your imagination in a way you cannot with grand sets; you appreciate Sondheim and creative staging.

Don't see it if you prefer your musicals in technicolor, with beautiful costumes and sets; small scale is not to your liking.

Critic Reviews (34)

The New York Times
May 4th, 2017

"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."
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Time Out New York
May 4th, 2017

"Boiled down—with all the loss of flavor that implies—to a somber 90-minute procession...Instead of coups de théâtre, this production offers coupures: edits, edits, edits. Gone is much of the material that gave 'Pacific Overtures' levity and texture...Not all is dire. The opening and closing numbers are confusing, but the major middle ones are cleanly handled...Too much of 'Pacific Overtures' is in what Doyle throws away. Striving for lean, he makes the show seem thin."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 4th, 2017

"This streamlined adaptation, performed with soulful feeling by a small multi-role cast, and told with haunting narrative simplicity, rewards being savored on its own subtle terms...The frugal restraint of the production highlights the delicacy of one of Sondheim's most evocative scores...This is a lovingly mounted staging of a unique show, a sorrowful account of violation, naivety and shattered peace, and a culture clash musical imbued with solemn humanity."
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May 4th, 2017

"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."
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The Wall Street Journal
May 4th, 2017

"The tone and scale of the production are enthrallingly intimate, and the simplicity of the presentation means that the gorgeous score stands out in the highest possible relief...The ensemble cast is solidly competent...'Pacific Overtures' didn’t need to be cut by an hour, much less subjected to a politically tendentious rewrite...This revised version works superlatively well in its own way. For all my reservations, I wouldn’t have missed Doyle’s richly involving production for the world."
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May 5th, 2017

"Doyle abjures spectacle, and that’s all well and good. But what’s sacrificed here is not the big effect so much as the bold gesture that underscores the seismic character of the history unfolding through these indelible songs and actions. Trimmed to 90 uninterrupted minutes, it’s diminished, like listening to Beethoven through a transistor radio or looking at the moon through the wrong end of a telescope. It demands a leap of faith to fully comprehend."
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AM New York
May 4th, 2017

"Like a bonsai tree that has been pruned with hedge clippers instead of scissors, or a barber shop customer who got too close a shave from Sweeney Todd...Some will find that Doyle brings clarity and intimacy to a challenging work, and others will be angry over the textual omissions or the lack of visuals. Personally, I found the production to be a plain and unexciting affair that, for the most part, drained away rather than enhanced the musical’s impact."
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May 4th, 2017

"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."
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