About Pacific Overtures

Menier Chocolate Factory, London
Booking to 24 February 2024
No longer booking

★★★★ “One of the most original and ebullient musicals in town” – Guardian

An extraordinary new production of Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures

One of Stephen Sondheim’s most ambitious, rarely seen musicals, Pacific Overtures comes to the Menier Chocolate Factory in a co-production with Umeda Arts Theater in Japan.

This production has already proved a huge hit in Tokyo and Osaka, and now comes to London in an extraordinary new production directed by Matthew White (Top Hat).

The cast includes Jon Chew (The Good Person of Szechwan), Kanako Nakano (My Neighbour Totoro), Saori Oda (The Phantom of the Opera), Takuro Ohno (The Phantom of the Opera), and Joaquin Pedro Valdes (Death Note The Musical).

Pacific Overtures plays the Menier from 25 November 2023 to 24 February 2024.

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Show Information

Performance dates
Booking to 24 February 2024
Running time
1 hour 45 minutes (no interval)
Performance days
Evenings: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Matinees: Saturday, Sunday

Performance information is for guidance only. Check booking calendar for details.


What's the story of Pacific Overtures?

Taking place in 19th century Japan, the story concerns the culture clash sparked by America’s 1853 mission to open up Japan to the West. 

Set in the mid 19th Century, the story centres on the culture clash sparked by America’s 1853 mission to open up Japan to the West. 

The arrival of American gun boats to the shores of Japan leads Japan’s isolationist government to hastily stop the Americans from landing. They send two men – Kayama Yasaemon, a lower-class samurai of Uraga, and John Manjiro who was captured for the crime of leaving the country – to lead negotiations. Whilst initially successful, what ensues is a flood of gun boat diplomacy with Western fleets forcing the Japanese to open up to trade. Under the watch of the Reciter, Japan inevitably heads toward the tumultuous era of opening itself to the rest of the world.

Who is in the cast of Pacific Overtures?

The cast includes Jon Chew as the Reciter, Kanako Nakano as Tamate, Saori Oda as Shogun/Madam, Takuro Ohno as Kayama, and Joaquin Pedro Valdes as Manjiro, alongside Luoran Ding, Masashi Fujimoto, Rachel Hayne Picar, Eu Jin Hwang, Abel Law, Ethan Le Phong, JoJo Meredith, Patrick Munday, Sario Solomon, Joy Tan, Lee V G and Iverson Yabut.

Who are the creative team of Pacific Overtures?

Music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim, with a book by John Weidman, and additional material by Hugh Wheeler.

This production is directed by Matthew White, with set design by Paul Farnsworth, costume design by Ayako Maeda, sound design by Gregory Clarke, choreography by Ashley Nottingham, musical supervision by Catherine Jayes, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, musical direction by Paul Bogaev, hair and makeup design by Wakana Yoshihara, and cultural consultant You-Ri Yamanaka.


Reviews

★★★★ "This Sondheim revival is a wonderful revelation" - Evening Standard
★★★★ "One of the most original and ebullient musicals in town" - Guardian
★★★★ "A visually arresting, unique musical" - TimeOut
★★★★ "A great Sondheim musical about Japan" - The Times

Read more reviews


Venue Information

Menier Chocolate Factory, 53 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU
Nearest Tube or Train: London Bridge (Northern line, Jubilee line)
Nearest Buses: 17, 21, 35, 40, 43, 47, 48, 133, 141, 149, 343, 381, 521
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News about Pacific Overtures

Pacific Overtures Reviews
Pacific Overtures Reviews
Reviews are coming in for the Menier Chocolate Factory revival of Stephen Sondheim Pacific Overtures. This new revival is directed by Matthew White, and stars Jon Chew (Anything Goes) as the Reciter, Kanako Nakano (My Neighbour Totoro) as Tamate, Saori Oda (The King and I) as Shogun/Madam, Takuro Ohno (The Phantom of the Opera) as Kayama, and Joaquin Pedro Valdes (Death Note The Musical, Then, Now & Next) as Manjiro. The cast also features Luoran Ding, Masashi Fujimoto, Rachel Hayne Picar, Eu Jin Hwang, Abel Law, Ethan Le Phong, JoJo Meredith, Patrick Munday, Sario Solomon, Joy Tan, Lee V G and Iverson Yabu. Set in 19th Century Japan, the musical is centred on two men: Kayama, a samurai who is tasked with seeing off visitors to Japan; and Manjiro, a Japanese fisherman whose experience of life in the USA makes him useful to the Shogun, who wants to position himself as a champion of US progress. Pacific Overtures has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, a book by John Weidman, and additional material by Hugh Wheeler, and features a score that includes ‘Someone in a Tree’, ‘Pretty Lady’ and ‘A Bowler Hat’.  [ngg src="galleries" ids="1456" display="basic_slideshow"] Joining Matthew White in the creative team is choreography by Ashley Nottingham, set design by Paul Farnsworth, costume design by Ayako Maeda, sound design by Gregory Clarke, musical supervision by Catherine Jayes, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, musical direction by Paul Bogaev, hair and makeup design by Wakana Yoshihara, and cultural consultant You-Ri Yamanaka. This production is co-produced with Japan's Umeda Arts Theater, who already premiered the production in Japan. Pacific Overtures is now playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 24 February 2024. Read reviews from the Times, Guardian, Evening Standard and more, with further reviews to be added. Book tickets to Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London
First-look Photos: Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory
First-look Photos: Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Production photos have dropped for the Menier Chocolate Factory revival of Stephen Sondheim rarely produced musical Pacific Overtures. Directed by Matthew White, Pacific Overtures is now playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 24 February 2024. The show stars Jon Chew (Anything Goes) as the Reciter, Kanako Nakano (My Neighbour Totoro) as Tamate, Saori Oda (The King and I) as Shogun/Madam, Takuro Ohno (The Phantom of the Opera) as Kayama, and Joaquin Pedro Valdes (Death Note The Musical, Then, Now & Next) as Manjiro, along with Luoran Ding, Masashi Fujimoto, Rachel Hayne Picar, Eu Jin Hwang, Abel Law, Ethan Le Phong, JoJo Meredith, Patrick Munday, Sario Solomon, Joy Tan, Lee V G and Iverson Yabu. Pacific Overtures has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, a book by John Weidman, additional material by Hugh Wheeler, and is set in 19th-century Japan. The score features Sondheim songs including ‘Someone in a Tree’, ‘Pretty Lady’ and ‘A Bowler Hat’.  This production is co-produced with Japan's Umeda Arts Theater, who already premiered the production in Japan. Joining Matthew White in the creative team is choreography by Ashley Nottingham, set design by Paul Farnsworth, costume design by Ayako Maeda, sound design by Gregory Clarke, musical supervision by Catherine Jayes, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, musical direction by Paul Bogaev, hair and makeup design by Wakana Yoshihara, and cultural consultant You-Ri Yamanaka. Book tickets to Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London Pacific Overtures - Photos [ngg src="galleries" ids="1456" display="pro_tile"]
Pacific Overtures casting announced for London’s Menier Chocolate Factory
Pacific Overtures casting announced for London’s Menier Chocolate Factory
The Menier Chocolate Factory in London has revealed casting for its revival of Stephen Sondheim musical Pacific Overtures. Sondheim's rarely staged musical is playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 25 November 2023 to 24 February 2024. The show will star Jon Chew (Anything Goes) as the Reciter, Kanako Nakano (My Neighbour Totoro) as Tamate, Saori Oda (The King and I) as Shogun/Madam, Takuro Ohno (The Phantom of the Opera) as Kayama, and Joaquin Pedro Valdes (Death Note The Musical, Then, Now & Next) as Manjiro. The cast will also feature Luoran Ding, Masashi Fujimoto, Rachel Hayne Picar, Eu Jin Hwang, Abel Law, Ethan Le Phong, JoJo Meredith, Patrick Munday, Sario Solomon, Joy Tan, Lee V G and Iverson Yabu. Directed by Matthew White, Pacific Overtures is co-produced by the Menier Chocolate Factory and Japan's Umeda Arts Theater, who already premiered the production in Japan. The wider creative team includes choreography by Ashley Nottingham, set design by Paul Farnsworth, costume design by Ayako Maeda, sound design by Gregory Clarke, musical supervision by Catherine Jayes, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, musical direction by Paul Bogaev, hair and makeup design by Wakana Yoshihara, and cultural consultant You-Ri Yamanaka. Pacific Overtures has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, with a book by John Weidman, and additional material by Hugh Wheeler. Set in 19th-century Japan, Pacific Overtures follows the arrival of the West to Japan as seen through the western perspective but played in an eastern style. The score is filled with some of Sondheim’s most ravishing music, including ‘Someone in a Tree’, ‘Pretty Lady’ and ‘A Bowler Hat’.  Currently playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory is Close-up - The Twiggy Musical, until 18 November 2023. Book tickets to Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London More about the cast of Pacific Overtures Jon Chew plays the Reciter. His theare work includes The Good Person of Szechwan (Lyric Hammersmith /Sheffield Theatres), Anything Goes (Barbican), Unity (1918) (Actor’s Studio), Asian Pirate Musical (Vaults Festival), Wild Goose Dreams (Ustinov Theatre, Bath Theatre Royal), Forgotten (Arcola Theatre), The King and I (London Palladium), and The Bee(Theatresause). For television, his work includes EastEnders, Three-Body Problem, The Great, The First Team, and Anything Goes and The King and I: From the London Palladium; and for film, Robin and the Hood; and The Wayback. Kanako Nakano plays Tamate. Her theatre work includes My Neighbour Totoro (RSC/Barbican), A Chorus Line (Curve Leicester), White Pearl (Royal Court Theatre), Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre, UK tour), Kiki’s Delivery Service (Southwark Playhouse), West Side Story (Grange Park Opera), and Priscilla Queen of the Desert (UK tour). Her television work includes Secret Invasion and Peep Show; and for film, People Just Do Nothing. Saori Oda plays Shogun/Madam. Her theatre work includes Galaxy Train (Théatre Lapis), The Phantom of the Opera, The King and I (West End, UK tour), Avenue Q (UK and Ireland tour), Carousel (ENO), Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre), and The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre); and for film, The Bryanston. Takuro Ohno plays Kayama. He will be making his UK stage debut in this production. He has recently played the title role in The Phantom of the Opera in Japan and has appeared in many Japanese films and television shows. Joaquin Pedro Valdes plays Manjiro. His theatre work includes Death Note (London Palladium), Then, Now & Next (Southwark Playhouse), Killing the Cat (Riverside Studios), The Lion King (UK and Ireland tour), Heathers the Musical (The Other Palace), Vanara the Legend (Hackney Empire), Miss Saigon, The King and I (UK and International tour), Fanny and Stella the Musical (The Garden Theatre), Matilda, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Red and The Last 5 Years (Manila Metropolitan Theatre).
Menier Chocolate Factory reveals new season: The Third Man, Close Up – The Twiggy Musical, Pacific Overtures
Menier Chocolate Factory reveals new season: The Third Man, Close Up – The Twiggy Musical, Pacific Overtures
The Menier Chocolate Factory in South London has announced a new season of shows for 2023. A new musical adaptation of The Third Man is to be the next major show at the venue, directed by Olivier and Tony Award-winner Trevor Nunn (Les Miserables). The musical's creators make an impressive team, with music by George Fenton (Mrs Henderson Presents), a book by Christopher Hampton (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, God of Carnage), and lyrics by Don Black (Bonnie and Clyde, Tell Me on a Sunday). Based on the 1949 British film written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed, The Third Man musical will play the Menier from 10 June to 9 September 2023. Joining Nunn in the creative team will be set and costume design by Paul Farnsworth, lighting design by Emma Chapman, sound design by Gregory Clarke, orchestrations by Jason Carr, musical supervision and direction by Tamara Saringer, and movement and choreography by Rebecca Howell. Another musical is up next at the Menier Chocolate Factory, from September 2023, with the world premiere of Close Up - The Twiggy Musical. The show is written and directed by Ben Elton (We Will Rock You), and covers the life story of model and actor Twiggy, from her Neasden upbringing to swinging Sixties superstar status. Watch & listen to the season announcement video https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZdrTlrU59dE The creative team will also include set and video design by Tim Bird, costume design by Jonathan Lipman, sound design by Gregory Clarke, musical supervision and orchestrations by Stuart Morley and choreography by Jacob Fearey. Close Up - The Twiggy Musical will run from 18 September to 18 November 2023 at the Chocolate Factory. Finally in the season, another musical - and this time the much-touted new revival of Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures. Matthew White (Top Hat) will direct the revised 2017 version of the show, the first time this will be premiered in the UK. It will be the first co-production for the Menier with a Japanese company – Umeda Arts Theater, based in Osaka. This production first premiered in Tokyo on 8 March 2023 at the Nissay Theatre, before heading to Osaka’s Umeda Arts Theater from 8 April 2023. The principle cast in Japan included the duel casting of Koji Yamamoto and Yuya Matsushita as the Reciter; Naoto Kaiho and Yusuke Hirose as Kayama Yasaemon; and Eiji Wentz and Toshiki Tateishi as John Manjiro. Also Hikaru Asami will play Shogun/Madam. Casting is to be announced for the Menier run. The creative team will also include set design by Paul Farnsworth, costume design by Ayako Maeda, sound design by Gregory Clarke, choreography by Ashley Nottingham, musical supervision by Catherine Jayes, and orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. Set in 19th-century Japan, Pacific Overtures has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, a book by John Weidman, and additional material by Hugh Wheeler. The original Broadway production premiered in 1976 and was staged in Kabuki style. Pacific Overtures will play the Menier from 25 November 2023 to 24 February 2024. Artistic Director of the Menier Chocolate Factory, David Babani, said in a statement: “Musical theatre is at the heart of what we do at the Menier, and not having been able to stage a musical for the last 3 years, we’re thrilled to announce a season of 3 back-to-back musicals - comprising two world premières; and a reinvention of Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures. We’ve had the immense privilege to stage many Sondheim works on our stage, so it’s wonderful to collaborate with Umeda Arts Theater and bring his unique voice back to our theatre. We look forward to welcoming Trevor Nunn back to helm The Third Man – a brand new musical by George Fenton, Christopher Hampton and Don Black – for the first time since the Olivier Award-winning Fiddler on the Roof; and also, to collaborate with Twiggy and Ben Elton for the first time with Close Up – The Twiggy Musical.” Currently playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory is Marjorie Prime starring Anne Reid until 6 May 2023. Next up at the Menier is Christina Bianco - In Divine Company, featuring internationally acclaimed singer Christina Bianco, from 11 to 20 May 2023. More about Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory Book tickets to Marjorie Prime Book tickets to Christina Bianco - In Divine Company Book tickets to Close Up: The Twiggy Musical at the Menier Chocolate Factory Book tickets to The Third Man - A Musical Thriller at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures to play the Menier Chocolate Factory
Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures to play the Menier Chocolate Factory
News is coming in that Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures is returning to London next year. A Japanese / UK production of the show is coming to the Menier Chocolate Factory in South London. It will be the first co-production for the Menier with a Japanese company - Umeda Arts Theater, based in Osaka. The show will premiere in Tokyo on 8 March 2023 at the Nissay Theatre, running until 29 March before heading to Osaka's Umeda Arts Theater from 8 to 16 April 2023. There are no firm dates yet for its Menier run in 2023. Pacific Overtures will be directed by Matthew White (Top Hat), and the principle cast includes the duel casting of Koji Yamamoto and Yuya Matsushita as the Reciter; Naoto Kaiho and Yusuke Hirose as Kayama Yasaemon; and Eiji Wentz and Toshiki Tateishi as John Manjiro. Also Hikaru Asami will play Shogun/Madam. Other cast include the Councillor played by Hiroko Kachi, Tamate by Sayaka Watabiki, Fisherman by Kota Someya, Thief by Naruhito Murai, Boy by Akari Taniguchi, Admirals by Keisuke Sugiura, Kan Muto, Yuichi Tamura, Katsuyuki Nakanishi and Hirotaka Terui, Sailor by Hiroki Fujita, and Girl by Hana Inoue. Set in 19th-century Japan, Pacific Overtures has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, a book by John Weidman, and additional material by Hugh Wheeler. The original Broadway production premiered in 1976 and was staged in Kabuki style. More about Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory

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