Sondheim’s 1976 musical was not a big success on its Broadway premiere, but in the wake of Sondheim’s death and changing attitudes towards East-West relations, maybe it’s time has finally come. A delicately pointed and melodic takedown of US imperialism, it’s an East meets West story focused on a 19th century US Navy visit to Japan. The Menier, of course, has a terrific reputation for reviving some of Sondheim’s more challenging work and allowing audiences to rediscover unheralded gems, but what makes this particularly appealing is that it’s a collaboration with Japan’s Umeda Arts Theatre and has already been a hit in Tokyo and Osaka.
One of Stephen Sondheim’s most ambitious, rarely seen creations comes to the Chocolate Factory in a co-production with Umeda Arts Theater in Japan, where it has already been a huge success in Tokyo and Osaka. The story of the arrival of the West in 1853 in isolated Japan is seen from a 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”.