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Special BWW Premiere: Read Revised Scene from Sondheim's PACIFIC OVERTURES for Japan Benefit!

Patti-LuPone-Richard-Thomas-and-More-Join-SHINSAI-THEATERS-FOR-JAPAN-Benefit-20010101

Patti LuPone, Richard Thomas, Mary Beth Hurt, Jay O. Sanders and Henry Stram will join forces with Michi Barral, Cindy Cheung, Joel de la Fuente, Angel Desai, Ann Harada, Jennifer Ikeda, Paul Juhn, Peter Kim, Ken Leung, Li Jun Li, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Paolo Montalban, Olivia Oguma, Jon Norman Schneider, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Jade Wu, Jonny Wo, James Yaegashi and Stacey Yen to raise funds that will go directly to Japanese theater artists devasted by last year’s earthquake when they appear in this Sunday’s March 11 benefit performances of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, at the Great Hall at Cooper Union (Seventh Street at Third Avenue). 

Under the direction of Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher, this assemblage of some of New York’s leading Asian-American actors will perform a series of ten minute plays and musical numbers by an eclectic group of award-winning American and Japanese writers and composers including Edward Albee, Shoki Kokami, Oriza Hirata, Richard Greenberg, John Guare, Kumiko Shinohara, John Kander, Fred Ebb & Joseph Stein, Tony Kushner & Jeanine Tesori, Nen Ishihara, Toshiki Okada, Toshiro Suzue and Yoji Sakate.  Playwrights Philip Kan Gotanda, Richard Greenberg, Suzan-Lori-Parks, Naomi Iizuka and Doug Wright will contribute original work to the benefit which will also feature a segment from the 1976 musical Pacific Overtures revised, with new lyrics, especially for the occasion by its creators librettist John Weidman and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim

Tickets to Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, priced at $25 for each performance, are available at The Public Theater box office (425 Lafayette Street), by phone at (212) 967-7555 or by visiting www.publictheater.org

BroadwayWorld.com is excited to premiere the text from creators John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim

“FOUR BLACK DRAGONS”/”NEXT!”

Adapted from “Pacific Overtures”
For Shinsai Theaters for Japan
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman


RECITER/ANNOUNCER
July eighth, eighteen hundred and fifty-three. Four American steam¬ships, a type of ship hitherto unknown in Japan, approach the east coast of Honshu.

(Lights up on a FISHERMAN)

FISHERMAN
I WAS STANDING ON THE BEACH
NEAR THE CLIFFS
AT OSHIMA.
I WAS SPREADING OUT THE NETS
FOR THE MORNING SUN.
IT WAS EARLY IN JULY
AND THE DAY WAS GETTING HOT,
AND I STOPPED TO WIPE MY EYES,
AND BY ACCIDENT I TURNED
AND LOOKED OUT TO SEA...

AND THERE CAME,
BREAKING THROUGH THE MIST,
ROARING THROUGH THE SEA,
FOUR BLACK DRAGONS,
SPITTING FIRE.
AND I RAN,
CURSING THROUGH THE FIELDS,
CALLING THE ALARM,
SHOUTING TO THE WORLD,
"FOUR BLACK DRAGONS,
SPITTING FIRE!"

AND THE EARTH TREMBLED,
AND THE SKY CRACKED,
AND I THOUGHT IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD.

RECITER/ANNOUNCER
March eleventh, two thousand and eleven. An earthquake measuring nine point zero on the Richter Scale occurs forty-three miles off the east coast of Honshu.

(Lights up on a SHOPKEEPER)

SHOPKEEPER
I WAS SWEEPING UP THE GLASS
IN OUR SHOP IN MIYAKO.
WITH THE CHILDREN HOME FROM SCHOOL
FOR THE AFTERNOON.
THOUGH THE GROUND WAS SHAKING STILL,
IT HAD STARTED TO SUBSIDE,
WHEN I HEARD A DISTANT HUM
AND LOOKED OUT TO SEA ...

AND THERE CAME,
BREAKING THROUGH THE MIST,
RISING THROUGH THE SEA,
THICK BLACK MOUNTAINS
CHURNING WATER.
AND WE RAN,
FAST AS WE COULD RUN,
HIGH AS WE COULD GO,
WATCHING THEM UNCOIL –
GREAT BLACK MOUNTAINS
CHURNING WATER.

FISHERMAN
I HAD SEEN
DRAGONS BEFORE –
NEVER SO MANY,
NEVER LIKE THESE!

SHOPKEEPER
(Simultaneously)
AND THE EARTH TREMBLED
AND THE SEA BUBBLED
AND THE BOATS SHATTERED
AND THE BIRDS DROWNED ...

BOTH
AND I THOUGHT IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD!

RECITER/ANNOUNCER
Waves thirty meters high propelled water six miles inland, obliterating towns and villages along four hundred miles of coastline. Sixteen thousand people died. A month later, four thousand people were still missing.

(During the above, an ENSEMBLE OF SINGERS appears)

FISHERMAN, SHOPKEEPER, ENSEMBLE
(Softly)
THE END OF THE WORLD …

SHOPKEEPER
(In silence)
BUT IT WASN’T.

(VAMP of “Next” begins)

MEMBER OF ENSEMBLE
Within two days, Japanese Defense Forces had cleared all the debris from the town of Hakozaki and emergency supplies were being delivered to the townspeople twice a day.

ENSEMBLE MEMBER
SKIES ARE CLEARING,
THINGS ARE MOVING –
NEXT!

ENSEMBLE MEMBER
Within a month, the Sendai Airport, washed away by the tsunami, was rebuilt and reopened to commercial aircraft.

FISHERMAN
SKIES ARE CLEARING,
AIR IMPROVING,
FIELDS APPEARING –
NEXT!

ENSEMBLE MEMBER
Within two months, the nation’s industrial output had increased by a record six percent, the largest increase in the history of Japan.

SHOPKEEPER
WATERS THINNING,
RUBBLE BURNING –

FISHERMAN
A NEW BEGINNING –
NEXT!

SHOPKEEPER
FLOWERS BLOOMING,
ENGINES CHURNING –

BOTH
LIFE RESUMING,
HOPE RETURNING,
NEXT!

ENSEMBLE MEMBER
On November third, the first of seventeen thousand cherry trees was planted at the point where the land had finally pushed the water back.

ALL
TOWER TUMBLES,
TOWER RISES –
NEXT!

TOWER CRUMBLES,
MAN REVISES.
MOTOR RUMBLES,
ENERGIZES
ENTERPRISES –
NEXT!

ALWAYS STRIVING,
SOMETIMES FAILING,
NOT YET THRIVING,
NOT YET SAILING,
STILL SURVIVING
AND PREVAILING –
NEXT!
NEXT!

RECITER/ANNOUNCER
March eleventh, two thousand and twelve. Thousands gather in theaters in the United States and around the world to support and celebrate the resilience of the people of Japan.

ALL
KEEP REPAIRING,
PERSEVERING –
NEXT! NEXT!
NO DESPAIRING,
SKIES ARE CLEARING –
NEXT!
NEXT!
NEXT!

 

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