George Takei to Lead 'Pacific Overtures'

George Takei - H - 2016

The original 'Star Trek' alumnus returns to the New York stage in the Stephen Sondheim musical after making his Broadway debut last season in 'Allegiance.'

George Takei will head the cast of the spring 2017 revival of Pacific Overtures, the boldly unconventional 1976 musical by composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and librettist John Weidman set in mid-19th century Japan.

The show tells the story of a fisherman and a samurai, contextualized against the Westernization of the tradition-bound East from the arrival of an American naval officer in 1859 to the present day.

Takei will play the narrator character known as the Reciter. The original Mr. Sulu from Star Trek made his Broadway debut last season in the short-lived musical Allegiance, which was partly inspired by his childhood experiences in the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II.

Pacific Overtures will begin performances April 5 at Classic Stage Company, directed by the off-Broadway company's new artistic director, John Doyle, who is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony-winning revival of The Color Purple.

Doyle has a long association with Sondheim's musicals, including well-received Broadway revivals of Company and Sweeney Todd, the latter winning him a 2006 Tony Award for best direction of a musical. He directed Sondheim's Passion at CSC in 2013.

Pacific Overtures was last seen in New York in a 2004 Broadway revival that starred B.D. Wong as the Reciter. The role was originally played on Broadway by Mako.

Takei has recently been in the news with his comments criticizing the choice to portray Sulu as a gay man in Star Trek Beyond, the latest installment in the screen franchise rebooted by producer J.J. Abrams. John Cho plays the character in the movie, which is directed by Justin Lin and opens nationwide July 22. The film's cast and creative team have defended the decision to put a progressive new spin on the beloved character.