Pan Asian Repertory presents the story of Major Gruver, a soldier stationed in Japan during World War II, who falls in love with Hana-Ogi, a Japanese woman. More…
An American officer and a Japanese woman fall in love, but the cross-cultural romance falls victim to the racism of the times, post-World War II. Despite the circumstances and situation, compassion and love can heal prejudice despite the inevitable collision of two disparate, codified cultures. This re-imagining of the epic musical features the all-female Takarazuka dance theater.
"In some ways, the Pan Asian Repertory Theater’s wonderfully choreographed and beautifully designed production could not be better timed...Yet, for all its indirect relevance, there’s something obvious and old-fashioned about 'Sayonara'...I haven’t seen previous productions of this musical, but this strikes me as not re-imagined enough; it is still told almost entirely from the American GIs’ point of view." Full Review
"Pan Asian Repertory Theater’s production, directed by Tisa Chang, promises a fresh approach to the material, rendering the Japanese women at its center as more than merely foreign, sexually desirable and susceptible to American charms. Though hampered by flimsy scenic design and somewhat shoddy projections and sound, many of the performers do fine work...But I wish Tisa Chang had made a more thorough revision of a script that condemns prejudice even as it exoticizes its Japanese characters." Full Review
"Despite the bumbling lyrics and book, director Tisa Chang's production excels at exposing the ugly prejudices that flourished during and after the American occupation of Japan....All things considered, the Pan Asian Rep has produced a solid staging of a mediocre musical. We should all look forward to seeing their talents applied to better work in the future." Full Review
"'Sayonara' wears its anti-discrimination message on its sleeve, and director Tisa Chang does nothing to rein it in. Bigots are not just writ large; they are played large as well. Singing is generally good, and the acting is adequate with a few standouts...The show's backbone, William Luce's book, is heavy-handed and dated, and that, unfortunately, is what you take away from 'Sayonara.'" Full Review
"The problem here is with quality...The primary 'Sayonara' disappointment is that Gilbert and Fischoff supply songs for the clandestine lovers that simply don't measure up. Although all principals sing well, none of the players is especially well served by the awkward production values. There's no question that the Pan-Asian budget was understandably small, but surely director Tisa Chang could have figured out a more theatrical way to make the most of what was available to her." Full Review
"Despite the story’s romantic, geographic, and socially provocative potential, 'Sayonara' suffers from a flatfooted book, uninspired lyrics, and generic music..Its theme of lovers struggling to overcome social prejudices in order to marry is still relevant. But relevance can’t overcome artistic and technical flaws. Hopefully, problems like the lack of a tight, rhythmic undercurrent; inefficient scene shifts; and off-key singing will be improved. If not, audiences will be saying “sayonara” soo... Full Review