All About Japan

All-Female Stage Troupe to Perform in US

| Theater

The Takarazuka Revue was formed by railroad tycoon Ichizo Kobayashi in 1913 to help draw tourists to hot springs of Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. You could say the idea was a bust, as to this day the town isn’t much more than a bit player in Japan’s competitive hot springs travel industry.

On the other hand, the all-female stage troupe itself has gone on to be phenomenally successful, with standing theaters in its hometown and Tokyo. As a matter of fact, the Takarazuka Revue has grown so popular that it’s inverted its original purpose, as the group occasional heads overseas to perform.

Most of Takarazuka’s recent excursions abroad have been to other parts of Asia, but in summer 2016 the troupe is heading to New York’s David H. Koch Theater, at the Lincoln Center, for six performances over five days.

While this isn’t the first time for the Takarazuka cast to appear in an American theater, it’s been several decades since the last such chance for fans in the U.S. to see Japan’s most celebrated ladies of the stage.

Given that the venue is on American soil, Takarazuka’s new retrospective on the life of Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have been out of place, but instead the troupe is going with the equally appropriate choice of showcasing its take on the hit musical Chicago.

While the performance will retain both the 1975 original version’s music and choreography, the lyrics have been adapted into Japanese, and the actresses will sing in their native language with projected English supertitles for non-bilingual attendees.

Nightly performances will be held from Wednesday, July 20 to Friday, July 22. Takarazuka will work overtime with a matinee and 8 p.m. show on Saturday, July 23, ahead of a final matinee on Sunday, July 24.

Individual tickets will be priced between US$50 and $110 and go on sale April 11. Four-ticket packages, meanwhile, will be available from January 28 and grant a 35 percent discount. Reservations can be made through the Lincoln Center’s website.

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