Stage Review

Pacific Overtures (2004)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Opening Date: Dec 02, 2004; Lead Performance: B.D. Wong

This revival of the 1976 musical about Japan's entrée into the modern world features a stellar cast (headed by B.D. Wong) that totally nails some of Sondheim's most exquisitely challenging songs, like the hysterical patter of ''Chrysanthemum Tea'' and the deconstructed memory of ''Someone in a Tree.'' But Pacific Overture's bland wooden set and dim lighting make for an occasionally glum experience, and the spare direction leaves us wondering what to think about the modernization of Nippon (despite the weird party-in-hell vibe of the finale). Zen simplicity is nice, but even nicer is a clear point of view.

Originally posted Dec 20, 2004 Published in issue #798 Dec 24, 2004 Order article reprints
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