Paramount Confirms Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein Movie Lands Music & Life Rights

Paramount Pictures and Amblin Partners made it official today what Deadline exclusively reported five days ago: That the Leonard Bernstein estate has granted music and life rights for the biopic about the legendary composer, a project which Bradley Coo…

Paramount Pictures and Amblin Partners made it official today what Deadline exclusively reported five days ago: That the Leonard Bernstein estate has granted music and life rights for the biopic about the legendary composer, a project which Bradley Cooper is prepping to direct, produce and star in. Producers Fred Berner and Amy Durning have been working over the last decade to secure the West Side Story composer’s rights. Spotlight Oscar winner Josh Singer wrote the…

Paramount Closes Deal for Leonard Bernstein Life Rights for Biopic Starring Bradley Cooper

Paramount Pictures and Amblin Partners have finalized a deal to secure the music and life rights from Leonard Bernstein’s estate, with Bradley Cooper in talks to direct, produce, and star in a biopic about the legendary composer. Josh Singer wrote the …

Paramount Pictures and Amblin Partners have finalized a deal to secure the music and life rights from Leonard Bernstein’s estate, with Bradley Cooper in talks to direct, produce, and star in a biopic about the legendary composer. Josh Singer wrote the script, and Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Fred Berner, Amy Durning, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and […]

Bradley Cooper to Direct, Star in Leonard Bernstein Biopic for Paramount, Amblin

Bradley Cooper will direct and star in “Leonard,” a biopic about composer Leonard Bernstein, which Paramount Pictures and Amblin Partners will co-finance, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Cooper will also write the script with Josh Singer, who wrote “Spotlight,” “The Post” and “First Man,” most recently. Cooper will produce through his Joint Effort banner alongside Fred Berner, Amy Durning, Kristie Macosko Krieger, and Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

Bernstein was a composer and conductor, as well as the music director of the New York Philharmonic. He worked on music for the musical “West Side Story,” which later became an Academy Award-winning film.

Also Read: Bradley Cooper to Receive 32nd American Cinematheque Award

He also wrote music for the 1950 musical “Peter Pan,” the 1953 musical “Wonderful Town” as well as the operetta “Candide.” Bernstein died in 1990.

There is also another film based on the life story of Bernstein in development — “The American” will be directed by Cary Fukunaga and star Jake Gyllenhaal, and the film is currently being shopped around at the Cannes Film Festival.

Also Read: ‘A Star Is Born’: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Nail High Notes With Trailer Debut

Cooper most recently starred in “Avengers: Infinity War” as the voice of Rocket. He will next be seen in “A Star Is Born,” which he also directed, opposite Lady Gaga. He is also currently in pre-production for “Deeper” and “Atlantic Wall.”

Cooper is represented by CAA and Relevant.

Deadline first reported the news.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star Is Born’ Bumped Back From Summer 2018 Release

Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga’s ‘A Star Is Born’ Moves Up to Summer 2018

Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper Remember Acting Coach Elizabeth Kemp

Bradley Cooper will direct and star in “Leonard,” a biopic about composer Leonard Bernstein, which Paramount Pictures and Amblin Partners will co-finance, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Cooper will also write the script with Josh Singer, who wrote “Spotlight,” “The Post” and “First Man,” most recently. Cooper will produce through his Joint Effort banner alongside Fred Berner, Amy Durning, Kristie Macosko Krieger, and Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

Bernstein was a composer and conductor, as well as the music director of the New York Philharmonic. He worked on music for the musical “West Side Story,” which later became an Academy Award-winning film.

He also wrote music for the 1950 musical “Peter Pan,” the 1953 musical “Wonderful Town” as well as the operetta “Candide.” Bernstein died in 1990.

There is also another film based on the life story of Bernstein in development — “The American” will be directed by Cary Fukunaga and star Jake Gyllenhaal, and the film is currently being shopped around at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cooper most recently starred in “Avengers: Infinity War” as the voice of Rocket. He will next be seen in “A Star Is Born,” which he also directed, opposite Lady Gaga. He is also currently in pre-production for “Deeper” and “Atlantic Wall.”

Cooper is represented by CAA and Relevant.

Deadline first reported the news.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Bradley Cooper's 'A Star Is Born' Bumped Back From Summer 2018 Release

Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga's 'A Star Is Born' Moves Up to Summer 2018

Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper Remember Acting Coach Elizabeth Kemp

Cannes: Jake Gyllenhaal to Play Leonard Bernstein in ‘The American’

Jake Gyllenhaal is set to produce and star as Leonard Bernstein in “The American,” with Cary Joji Fukunaga directing and producing. Bron Studios will produce and back the film, which begins principal photography in the fall. Sierra/Affinity will handle…

Jake Gyllenhaal is set to produce and star as Leonard Bernstein in “The American,” with Cary Joji Fukunaga directing and producing. Bron Studios will produce and back the film, which begins principal photography in the fall. Sierra/Affinity will handle international sales of the project during the Cannes Film Market. . The screenplay, from Michael Mitnick, […]

Jake Gyllenhaal Plays Music Icon Leonard Bernstein In BRON-Backed Cary Fukunaga-Helmed ‘The American:’ Cannes

EXCLUSIVE: In what shapes up as another very strong Cannes title for next week, Jake Gyllenhaal is set to produce and star as Leonard Bernstein in The American, with Cary Joji Fukunaga directing and producing. BRON Studios will produce and finance a fi…

EXCLUSIVE: In what shapes up as another very strong Cannes title for next week, Jake Gyllenhaal is set to produce and star as Leonard Bernstein in The American, with Cary Joji Fukunaga directing and producing. BRON Studios will produce and finance a film that begins principal photography in the fall. Sierra/Affinity will sell international territories and Endeavor Content is repping North American rights. Michael Mitnick adapted the script from the Humphrey Burton…

25 Stars Who Need Only an Oscar to EGOT, From Cynthia Nixon to James Earl Jones (Photos)

The EGOT — an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony — is the greatest honor in entertainment. These stars are (or were) close to achieving it.

A select group of entertainers can round out their trophy cases with a competitive win from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

 

Harry Belafonte (1927 – )

Emmy: Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series, “The Revlon Revue” (1960).

Grammys (2): Folk Performance, “Swing Dat Hammer” (1960); Folk Recording, “An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba” (1965).

Tony: Supporting Actor in a Musical, “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac” (1954).

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) 

Emmy: 7 individual wins, including for “Omnibus” (1957 and 1958); “Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic” (1961); “New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts” (1965); “Beethoven’s Birthday” (1972); and “Carnegie Hall: The Grand Reopening” (1987).

Grammy: 16 wins, most for best classical album.

Tony: Best Musical, “Wonderful Town” (1953).

Jerry Bock
Martin Charnin
Cy Coleman
Fred Ebb

Cynthia Erivo (1987 – ) 

Daytime Emmy: On-Camera Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, “Today” (2017).

Grammy: Musical Theater Album, “The Color Purple” (2016).

Tony: Actress in a Musical, “The Color Purple” (2016). EGOT

Anne Garefino (1959 – ) 

Emmys (5): Animated Program (producing), “South Park” (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2013).

Grammy: Musical Theater Album, “The Book Of Mormon” (2011).

Tony: Musical (producing), “The Book of Mormon” (2011).

Julie Harris (1925-2013) 

Emmys (3): Single Performance by an Actress, “Little Moon of Alban” (1959); Single Performance by an Actress, “Victoria Regina” (1962); Voiceover Performance, “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony” (2000).

Grammy: Spoken Word Recording, “The Belle Of Amherst” (1977).

Tonys (5): Actress in a Play, “I Am a Camera” (1952), “The Lark” (1956), “Forty Carats” (1969), “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln” (1973) and “The Belle of Amherst” (1977). EGOT

James Earl Jones (1931 – ) 

Emmys (2): Actor in a Drama Series, “Gabriel’s Fire” (1991); Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special, “Heat Wave” (1991).

Grammy: Spoken Word Recording, “Great American Documents” (1976).

Tonys (2): Actor in a Play, “The Great White Hope” (1969) and “Fences” (1987).

Quincy Jones (1933 – )

Emmy: Music Composition for a Series Original Dramatic Score, “Roots” (1977).

Grammy: 27 wins, including Record of the Year, “Beat It” (1983) and “We Are the World” (1985); Album of the Year, “Back on the Block” (1990).

Tony: Musical Revival (producing), “The Color Purple” (2016).

John Kander

Cyndi Lauper (1953 – ) 

Emmy: Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, “Mad About You” (2005).

Grammys (2): Best New Artist (1984); Musical Theater Album, “Kinky Boots” (2013).

Tony: Score, “Kinky Boots” (2013).

Audra McDonald (1970 – )

Emmy: Special Class Program, “Live From Lincoln Center” (2015).

Grammys (2): Classical Album and Opera Recording, “Weill: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” (2008).

Tonys (6): Featured Actress in a Musical, “Carousel” (1994); Featured Actress in a Play, “Master Class” (1996); Featured Actress in a Musical, “Ragtime” (1998); Featured Actress in a Play, “A Raisin in the Sun” (2004); Actress in a Musical, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” (2012); Actress in a Play, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” (2014).

Bette Midler (1945 – )

Emmys (3): Special – Comedy, Variety or Music, “Bette Midler Ol’ Red Hair Is Back” (1978); Performance in a Variety or Music Program, “Bette Midler: Diva Las Vegas” (1997) and “The Tonight Show” (1992).

Grammy (3): Best New Artist (1973); Best Female Pop Vocal Performance,
“The Rose” (1980); Record of the Year, “Wind Beneath My Wings” (1989).

Tony: Actress in a Musical, “Hello, Dolly!” (2017).

Lin-Manuel Miranda (1980 – )

Emmy: Original Music and Lyrics, “67th Annual Tony Awards” (2014).

Grammys (2): Best Musical Theater Album, “In the Heights” (2008) and “Hamilton” (2017).

Tonys (3): Score, “In the Heights” (2008) and “Hamilton” (2016); Musical, “Hamilton” (2016).

Cynthia Nixon (1966 – ) EGOT

Emmys (2): Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, “Sex and the City” (2004); Guest Actress in a Drama Series, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2008).

Grammy: Spoken Word Album, “An Inconvenient Truth” (2008) .

Tonys (2): Actress in a Play, “Rabbit Hole” (2006); Featured Actress in a Play, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes” (2017).

Trey Parker
Marc Shaiman
Bill Sherman
Matt Stone
Charles Strouse

Lily Tomlin (1939 – )

Emmys (6): Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Special, “Lily” (1974) and The Lily Tomlin Special (1976) and “The Paul Simon Special” (1978); Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “Lily” (1974) and “Lily: Sold Out” (1981); Voiceover Performance, “An Apology to Elephants” (2013).

Grammy: Comedy Recording, “This Is a Recording” (1971)

Tony: Actress in a Play, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” (1986).

Dick Van Dyke (1925 -)

Emmys (4): Actor in a Comedy Series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1964, 1965 and 1966); Comedy-Variety or Music Series, “Van Dyke and Company” (1977).

Grammy: Recording for Children, “Mary Poppins” (1964).

Tony: Featured Actor in a Musical, “Bye, Bye Birdie” (1961).

James Whitmore

The EGOT — an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony — is the greatest honor in entertainment. These stars are (or were) close to achieving it.

A select group of entertainers can round out their trophy cases with a competitive win from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

 

Harry Belafonte (1927 – )

Emmy: Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series, “The Revlon Revue” (1960).

Grammys (2): Folk Performance, “Swing Dat Hammer” (1960); Folk Recording, “An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba” (1965).

Tony: Supporting Actor in a Musical, “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac” (1954).

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) 

Emmy: 7 individual wins, including for “Omnibus” (1957 and 1958); “Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic” (1961); “New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts” (1965); “Beethoven’s Birthday” (1972); and “Carnegie Hall: The Grand Reopening” (1987).

Grammy: 16 wins, most for best classical album.

Tony: Best Musical, “Wonderful Town” (1953).

Jerry Bock
Martin Charnin
Cy Coleman
Fred Ebb

Cynthia Erivo (1987 – ) 

Daytime Emmy: On-Camera Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, “Today” (2017).

Grammy: Musical Theater Album, “The Color Purple” (2016).

Tony: Actress in a Musical, “The Color Purple” (2016). EGOT

Anne Garefino (1959 – ) 

Emmys (5): Animated Program (producing), “South Park” (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2013).

Grammy: Musical Theater Album, “The Book Of Mormon” (2011).

Tony: Musical (producing), “The Book of Mormon” (2011).

Julie Harris (1925-2013) 

Emmys (3): Single Performance by an Actress, “Little Moon of Alban” (1959); Single Performance by an Actress, “Victoria Regina” (1962); Voiceover Performance, “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony” (2000).

Grammy: Spoken Word Recording, “The Belle Of Amherst” (1977).

Tonys (5): Actress in a Play, “I Am a Camera” (1952), “The Lark” (1956), “Forty Carats” (1969), “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln” (1973) and “The Belle of Amherst” (1977). EGOT

James Earl Jones (1931 – ) 

Emmys (2): Actor in a Drama Series, “Gabriel’s Fire” (1991); Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special, “Heat Wave” (1991).

Grammy: Spoken Word Recording, “Great American Documents” (1976).

Tonys (2): Actor in a Play, “The Great White Hope” (1969) and “Fences” (1987).

Quincy Jones (1933 – )

Emmy: Music Composition for a Series Original Dramatic Score, “Roots” (1977).

Grammy: 27 wins, including Record of the Year, “Beat It” (1983) and “We Are the World” (1985); Album of the Year, “Back on the Block” (1990).

Tony: Musical Revival (producing), “The Color Purple” (2016).

John Kander

Cyndi Lauper (1953 – ) 

Emmy: Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, “Mad About You” (2005).

Grammys (2): Best New Artist (1984); Musical Theater Album, “Kinky Boots” (2013).

Tony: Score, “Kinky Boots” (2013).

Audra McDonald (1970 – )

Emmy: Special Class Program, “Live From Lincoln Center” (2015).

Grammys (2): Classical Album and Opera Recording, “Weill: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” (2008).

Tonys (6): Featured Actress in a Musical, “Carousel” (1994); Featured Actress in a Play, “Master Class” (1996); Featured Actress in a Musical, “Ragtime” (1998); Featured Actress in a Play, “A Raisin in the Sun” (2004); Actress in a Musical, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” (2012); Actress in a Play, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” (2014).

Bette Midler (1945 – )

Emmys (3): Special – Comedy, Variety or Music, “Bette Midler Ol’ Red Hair Is Back” (1978); Performance in a Variety or Music Program, “Bette Midler: Diva Las Vegas” (1997) and “The Tonight Show” (1992).

Grammy (3): Best New Artist (1973); Best Female Pop Vocal Performance,
“The Rose” (1980); Record of the Year, “Wind Beneath My Wings” (1989).

Tony: Actress in a Musical, “Hello, Dolly!” (2017).

Lin-Manuel Miranda (1980 – )

Emmy: Original Music and Lyrics, “67th Annual Tony Awards” (2014).

Grammys (2): Best Musical Theater Album, “In the Heights” (2008) and “Hamilton” (2017).

Tonys (3): Score, “In the Heights” (2008) and “Hamilton” (2016); Musical, “Hamilton” (2016).

Cynthia Nixon (1966 – ) EGOT

Emmys (2): Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, “Sex and the City” (2004); Guest Actress in a Drama Series, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2008).

Grammy: Spoken Word Album, “An Inconvenient Truth” (2008) .

Tonys (2): Actress in a Play, “Rabbit Hole” (2006); Featured Actress in a Play, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes” (2017).

Trey Parker
Marc Shaiman
Bill Sherman
Matt Stone
Charles Strouse

Lily Tomlin (1939 – )

Emmys (6): Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Special, “Lily” (1974) and The Lily Tomlin Special (1976) and “The Paul Simon Special” (1978); Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “Lily” (1974) and “Lily: Sold Out” (1981); Voiceover Performance, “An Apology to Elephants” (2013).

Grammy: Comedy Recording, “This Is a Recording” (1971)

Tony: Actress in a Play, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” (1986).

Dick Van Dyke (1925 -)

Emmys (4): Actor in a Comedy Series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1964, 1965 and 1966); Comedy-Variety or Music Series, “Van Dyke and Company” (1977).

Grammy: Recording for Children, “Mary Poppins” (1964).

Tony: Featured Actor in a Musical, “Bye, Bye Birdie” (1961).

James Whitmore

‘Pacific Overtures’ Theater Review: Stephen Sondheim Survives the Scissors

Franco Zeffirelli once remarked that directors rarely staged Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” effectively, because they either emphasized the comedy or the drama and rarely got the right balance. The same could be said of almost any musical written by Stephen Sondheim. Back in the 1970s, director Hal Prince almost always got it right, from “Company” to “Sweeney Todd.” Broadway theatergoers didn’t know how lucky we were. In hindsight, we do, thanks to John Doyle.

Doyle almost always gets it wrong, making Sondheim’s shows all about the angst. His most egregious failure was the 2006 Broadway revival of “Company,” which excised all the sex and fun of being a hot single man in Manhattan.

Doyle’s staging of Sondheim and John Weidman’s “Pacific Overtures,” which opened Thursday at Off Broadway’s Classic Stage Company, isn’t devoid of humor. He has made the inspired choice to cast Ann Harada in a number of roles, and the original “Avenue Q” cast member brings her inimitable wry panache to several scenes, often cross-dressing to wonderful effect.

Also Read: Tony Awards 2017 Nominations Snubs and Surprises, From ‘Sunset Boulevard’ to ‘Natasha’ (Photos)

There’s much gender bending in this “Overtures.” In the song “Welcome to Kanagawa,” Harada turns up as a very Bloody Mary madam, with her “girls” played by the male ensemble. They wear khaki trousers throughout the show, which gives the whole enterprise a very first-day-of-rehearsals look. Ann Would-Ward takes credit for these off-the-rack costumes. Jane Cox’s dramatic lighting, on the other hand, provides several stunning effects of water and endless sky.

And in addition to Harada, you will appreciate the traditional casting of Megan Masako Haley in the role of the samurai’s wife, Tamate. She unleashes one of the purist soprano voices to be heard outside an opera house. The male actors in this production, unfortunately, fail to make much of an impression, including George Takei in the walk-on role of the Reciter.

Prince’s lavish original staging in 1976 featured an all-male cast, and some complained at the time that it was merely Kabuki 101. For others, the effect dazzled in its bizarre amalgam of Asian theater traditions and Broadway pizzazz — just the right balance for one of Sondheim’s finest scores.

Also Read: Tony Awards 2017: The Complete List of Nominees, From ‘Natasha, Pierre’ to ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Today, some critics have accused such recent Broadway offerings as “War Paint” and “Groundhog Day” of being either “static” or replete with “unsympathetic characters.” Which is what many critics said of the original “Company,” “Follies,” and “Pacific Overtures.”

Weidman’s book about the Westernization of Japan, beginning in 1853, is certainly unique. He eschews the traditional concept of characters, likable or otherwise. And as for character development via song, there’s only Sondheim’s song “A Bowler Hat,” in which a samurai (Steven Eng) leaves behind his Japanese traditions and garb.

What Weidman provides instead is a vast panorama of a culture at a time of upheaval. Back in 1976, Broadway audiences didn’t know what to make of it. All they cared about was the recently opened “A Chorus Line.” And Clive Barnes in the New York Times said the music sounded like Madama Butterfly wrestling in the pit with Leonard Bernstein.

Also Read: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ Sets Broadway Premiere Date

Melodies that weren’t obvious upon a first hearing are now much clearer in “Pacific Overtures,” not that there’s an abundance of them. Sondheim is more interested in the Monet effect: repeating a subject, or melody, but always changing the color.

The mystery of this “Pacific Overtures” is why Doyle cuts two songs. The show is hardly a Broadway “Parsifal.” Gone is “Chrysanthemum Tea,” arguably the song most critical of the Japanese mindset. Gone, too, is “Lion Dance.” Doyle has never cared for dance; he unwisely cut “Tick Tock” from “Company.” Losing the “Lion Dance” makes “Pacific Overtures” a more seamless show, if your idea of seamless is not having an intermission. But two-plus hours with an intermission often feels shorter than 90 minutes with no break.

In addition to Harada and Haley, the other bright spot of this “Pacific Overtures” is the orchestra, if nine players can be called an orchestra. Jonathan Tunick’s orchestrations have rarely sounded so lush.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ Sets Broadway Premiere Date

Michael Moore to Skewer Trump in Broadway Debut ‘Terms of My Surrender’

Tony Awards 2017 Nominations Snubs and Surprises, From ‘Sunset Boulevard’ to ‘Natasha’ (Photos)

Tony Awards 2017: The Complete List of Nominees, From ‘Natasha, Pierre’ to ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Franco Zeffirelli once remarked that directors rarely staged Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” effectively, because they either emphasized the comedy or the drama and rarely got the right balance. The same could be said of almost any musical written by Stephen Sondheim. Back in the 1970s, director Hal Prince almost always got it right, from “Company” to “Sweeney Todd.” Broadway theatergoers didn’t know how lucky we were. In hindsight, we do, thanks to John Doyle.

Doyle almost always gets it wrong, making Sondheim’s shows all about the angst. His most egregious failure was the 2006 Broadway revival of “Company,” which excised all the sex and fun of being a hot single man in Manhattan.

Doyle’s staging of Sondheim and John Weidman’s “Pacific Overtures,” which opened Thursday at Off Broadway’s Classic Stage Company, isn’t devoid of humor. He has made the inspired choice to cast Ann Harada in a number of roles, and the original “Avenue Q” cast member brings her inimitable wry panache to several scenes, often cross-dressing to wonderful effect.

There’s much gender bending in this “Overtures.” In the song “Welcome to Kanagawa,” Harada turns up as a very Bloody Mary madam, with her “girls” played by the male ensemble. They wear khaki trousers throughout the show, which gives the whole enterprise a very first-day-of-rehearsals look. Ann Would-Ward takes credit for these off-the-rack costumes. Jane Cox’s dramatic lighting, on the other hand, provides several stunning effects of water and endless sky.

And in addition to Harada, you will appreciate the traditional casting of Megan Masako Haley in the role of the samurai’s wife, Tamate. She unleashes one of the purist soprano voices to be heard outside an opera house. The male actors in this production, unfortunately, fail to make much of an impression, including George Takei in the walk-on role of the Reciter.

Prince’s lavish original staging in 1976 featured an all-male cast, and some complained at the time that it was merely Kabuki 101. For others, the effect dazzled in its bizarre amalgam of Asian theater traditions and Broadway pizzazz — just the right balance for one of Sondheim’s finest scores.

Today, some critics have accused such recent Broadway offerings as “War Paint” and “Groundhog Day” of being either “static” or replete with “unsympathetic characters.” Which is what many critics said of the original “Company,” “Follies,” and “Pacific Overtures.”

Weidman’s book about the Westernization of Japan, beginning in 1853, is certainly unique. He eschews the traditional concept of characters, likable or otherwise. And as for character development via song, there’s only Sondheim’s song “A Bowler Hat,” in which a samurai (Steven Eng) leaves behind his Japanese traditions and garb.

What Weidman provides instead is a vast panorama of a culture at a time of upheaval. Back in 1976, Broadway audiences didn’t know what to make of it. All they cared about was the recently opened “A Chorus Line.” And Clive Barnes in the New York Times said the music sounded like Madama Butterfly wrestling in the pit with Leonard Bernstein.

Melodies that weren’t obvious upon a first hearing are now much clearer in “Pacific Overtures,” not that there’s an abundance of them. Sondheim is more interested in the Monet effect: repeating a subject, or melody, but always changing the color.

The mystery of this “Pacific Overtures” is why Doyle cuts two songs. The show is hardly a Broadway “Parsifal.” Gone is “Chrysanthemum Tea,” arguably the song most critical of the Japanese mindset. Gone, too, is “Lion Dance.” Doyle has never cared for dance; he unwisely cut “Tick Tock” from “Company.” Losing the “Lion Dance” makes “Pacific Overtures” a more seamless show, if your idea of seamless is not having an intermission. But two-plus hours with an intermission often feels shorter than 90 minutes with no break.

In addition to Harada and Haley, the other bright spot of this “Pacific Overtures” is the orchestra, if nine players can be called an orchestra. Jonathan Tunick’s orchestrations have rarely sounded so lush.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' Sets Broadway Premiere Date

Michael Moore to Skewer Trump in Broadway Debut 'Terms of My Surrender'

Tony Awards 2017 Nominations Snubs and Surprises, From 'Sunset Boulevard' to 'Natasha' (Photos)

Tony Awards 2017: The Complete List of Nominees, From 'Natasha, Pierre' to 'Hello, Dolly!'