Pacific Overtures

PACIFIC_OVERTUREsStephen Sondheim’s favourite and most ambitious work Pacific Overtures, will have its first fully realised theatrical season in Melbourne in 2014, including an updated libretto from John Weidman.

Pacific Overtures is a contemporary musical whose narrative begins in 1853, with Commodore Perry’s incursion onto Japanese soil. In a fiercely protected world of shoguns, screens, rice, tea, and bows, a humble fisherman and samurai are sent to ‘stop the boats’ and hold back the tide of Western incursion. At stake is a way of life.

A unique fusion of Western and Japanese theatrical tradition, the work explores the clash of cultures and gun-­boat diplomacy that eventually tears open an erstwhile secluded civilisation. Its themes of individual identity, cultural belonging, tradition, change, love, politics and war resonate strongly in our current political climate.

Pacific Overtures is a fabulous ensemble piece, one that really showcases actors’ transformative powers,” says Director Alister Smith.

“It is epic, thematically and theatrically – hysterically funny one minute and deeply moving the next as it bounds through 160 odd years of cultural change in 100 minutes of electric theatre.”

Pacific Overtures debuted at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre on in 1976, and ran for 193 performances. Originally directed by Hal Prince, the work received ten Tony nominations, winning two: Best Costume Design (Florence Klotz) and Best Scenic Design (Boris Aronson).

Following a highly acclaimed, sell-out season of Assassins in April 2013, Watch This is teaming up with Manilla Street Productions to stage the first full-scale presentation of Pacific Overtures in Melbourne in association with Theatre Works.

Director: Alister Smith  Cast: Bianca  Baykara,  Anton  Berezin,  Reece  Budin, Emma Clair Ford, Jacqui Hoy, Andrew Kroenert, Adrian Li Donni, Noni McCallum, Tim Paige, Nick Simpson-­Deeks, Elenor Smith Adams, Sonya Suares and Leighton Young  Musical Director: Robyn Womersley  Set Designer: Eugyeene Teh  Lighting Designer: Rob Sowinski  Costume / Make-Up Design: Chloe Greaves

Pacific Overtures
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St. Kilda
Season: 19 February – 9 March 2014
Bookings: (03) 9534 3388 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: courtesy of Watch This Productions