Pacific Overtures is a triumph:
This is one of the most entrancingly beautiful shows ever to come to Broadway. Even if you don’t like it, you won’t be sorry to have seen it.
Originally produced in 1976, “Pacific Overtures” tells the once-familiar story of the naval expedition led by Commodore Perry that opened Japan to the West in 1853–but tells it from the Japanese point of view. The characters are played by Asian-Americans (Perry is a giant monster in a mask). John Weidman’s book makes use of narrative techniques derived from Noh theater, while Mr. Sondheim’s iridescent score melds the spare, percussive textures of Japanese music with his own Ravel-perfumed harmonies.
What makes this production still more individual is that it has been staged and choreographed by a Japanese director, Amon Miyamoto. When I first saw it a few years ago at the Lincoln Center Festival, it was even sung in Japanese (with English supertitles). That deliciously distancing touch is gone from this English-language version, but Mr. Miyamoto and his designers have otherwise been careful to present “Pacific Overtures” in an idiomatically Japanese style, with simple d