Monday, January 25, 2016

TAKARAZUKA‬'s "CHICAGO" in New York City


More than a century has passed since the Takarazuka Revue made its debut performance in 1914 on an indoor pool converted to a theater. The lid of the pool served as the space for seating while the dressing rooms served as the stage.


Takarazuka Revue's founder was Ichizo Kobayashi, a man who contributed to the growth of the Hankyu Railway. In addition the aforementioned work, he also opened the Hankyu Department Store, the first of its kind to open at a train station. Not only that, he was also one who helped found the Toho Group. When the Paradise hotel closed due to coed swimming prohibition and the lack of hot spring facilities, the indoor pool of the hotel was converted to the theater that housed the first performance of the Takarazuka Revue in 1914.
The Takarazuka Revue's motto is that of "modesty, fairness and grace," one that lives up to this day as each Takarasienne must have etiquette and manners, each woman keeping her dignity onstage and off.
What sets the Takarazuka Revue apart from the rest is its membership of unmarried women. These women undertake both male and female roles, the "otoko yaku" and the "musume yaku." In the case of the otoko yaku, such Takarasienne must project male sexuality while the musume yaku performs to make that otoko yaku stand out. The role - otoko yaku or musume yaku - of each Takarasienne is determined by her height, vocal range, personal inclination and other factors. Some have been known to switch roles at certain points of their theatrical careers.
Five troupes comprise the Takarazuka Revue:
1. Flower troupe - Popular for their glitz and general skill. They have produced numerous otoko yaku stars over the troupe's long history.
2. Moon troupe - Meticulous attention to group performances is a tradition. This troupe performs many a theatrical masterpiece.
3. Snow troupe - Skilled at Japanese musical programs and renowned for their advanced skill on stage.
4. Star troupe - Talented costume work. This troupe puts on many productions where the otoko yaku truly shines.
5. Cosmos troupe - A modern, stylish air. The troupe's impressive chorus has an established reputation.
Superior Members:
The Senka belong to no one troupe. They are a group of specialists who appear in any of the troupes' productions as needed.
The Takarazuka Revue has three dedicated theaters: the Takarazuka Theater in Hyogo Prefecture, the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater, and the Takarazuka Bow Theater which is adjacent to the Takarazuka Grand Theater.

Fans of J-Rock will remember LUNA SEA vocalist Ryuichi Kawamura as Billy Flynn in "CHICAGO" back in 2008 and 2010. Theater goers in the United States will be pleased to know that the Takarazuka Revue will be performing "CHICAGO," sung in Japanese, at the David H. Koch Theater of the Lincoln Center Plaza as part of the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City! Theater dates are July 19th to the 24th, with times of 2:00 p.m. on July 20th, 23rd and 24th, 7:30 p.m. on July 21st and 22nd and 8:00 p.m. on July 19th, 20th and 23rd. Ticket prices range from $35 to $150. Lincoln Center members have access to pre-sale tickets.