Stephen Sondheim's kabuki retelling of the opening of Japan to the West.
Pacific Overtures is a musical written by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. The show is set in Japan beginning in 1853 and follows the difficult westernization of Japan, told from the point of view of the Japanese. In particular, the story focuses on the lives of two friends caught in the change. The original Broadway production of Pacific Overtures in 1976 was staged in Kabuki style, with men playing women's parts and set changes made in full view of the audience by black-clad stagehands. It opened to mixed reviews and closed after six months, despite being nominated for ten Tony Awards. Set in 1853 Japan, Pacific Overtures follows the Westernization of Japan, mainly through the story of Kayama, a samurai, and Manjiro, a fisherman. The lives of both men are radically changed by the coming of American ships to Japan.