ekusudei: (Default)
OG CHICAGO @ Lincoln Center
Koch Theater
July 20-24, 2016

Cast: Hatsukaze Jun, Mine Saori, Isono Chihiro, Mori Keaki, Asaji Saki, Shizuki Asato, Wao Youka, Kozuki Wataru, Hoshina Yuri, Asami Hikaru, Mizu Natsuki, Yamato Yuuga, Suzu Haruki, Makise Kai, Maishiro Nodoka, Manami Sora, Otohana Yuri, Kayou Kirari, Yuuzumi Shun, Tsukio Kazusa, Hanazuki Yuma, Kaon Yuuki, Mishou Kazuki, Koumi Maito, Kitori Mariya, Urara Moe, Maki Izumi, Hayami Sei

Let me just say straight out up front that I'm not a huge fan of the musical Chicago. However, there were members of this tour group who I thought I would never see live on stage, and others who I thought I would never see again live on stage, so this was very precious to me. When I got into the fandom about 10 years ago, Mariko (Asaji Saki) was eight years retired and living in Brazil with her husband and child. Then she started doing OG performances here and there, but I was never in the right place at the right time. This was AMAZING. And Wataru, who was the top star in the very first live show that I saw in 2005. And Mizu, who I had loved so much as a young star, and Marimo, my absolute favorite top musumeyaku ever, and the list goes on and on.... Even Hayami Sei and Maki Izumi ended up being in the NY cast after all!

I saw the Mariko-Mizu-Tani cast twice, once with Hatsukaze-san and once with Mori-san. I saw the Zunko-Wataru-Komu cast on closing night with Mori-san.

I agree with the NY Times review, the show itself was solid but not anything original or likely to steal your heart away. Of the casts that I saw, the Mariko-Mizu-Tani-Mori was my favorite. Mariko just has that charm and appeal, and while Zunko's singing was of course better she just didn't seem as into the performance. Mizu was hands-down the best performer in the cast. Her charisma just took over the entire stage any time she set foot on it, and her singing was strong and Broadway-esque, which is not true for most Takarazuka voices. Wataru had a lot of fun in the role, and I love her to pieces, but she certainly didn't take over the entire stage like Mizu did. I was not expecting Tani to be my favorite Roxie, but her comedy and comedic faces have always been strong (I still love her Nathan Detroit best), and she didn't pull any punches here. Komu's Roxie was woah sexy, but not as funny. Over-all, the Mizu-Tani interactions were more vicious, and you could really buy them as unrepentant killers, while Wataru and Komu seemed to be enjoying life more.

I wasn't certain about Isono-san's Amos Hart at first, but by the time "Mr Cellophane" rolled around I was sold. Very solid, and strongest in the second act. I was SUPER excited to see Hatsukaze-san live on stage. She was a star in the 60s and 70s, one of the first top musumeyaku when the top star system started to develop, and played Marie-Antoinette in the first Takarazuka production of The Rose of Versailles. She is also Hatsukaze Midori's aunt. She returned to the stage in 2000 with the Toho production of Elisabeth and has been steadily acting since. Her voice is certainly as strong and gorgeous as ever, but she seemed frail on stage and I think she was also having some trouble with her sight.

The two big surprises in this show to me were Mori Keaki and Manami Sora. Stay with me! I've seen Mori-san in TMP Specials, in smaller roles, and possibly in a few shows as top star, but nothing ever grabbed me. But with this production I fell in a big way. Her voice is enormous and rich and lovely and "Broadway-esque." Her encore number "That's Life" was my favorite. Manami Sora, wow was she on point as the Jury. She got the biggest laughs every show with her quick-changes and exaggerated comical performances. Really impressive!

Marimo (Aono Yuki) showed off her dancing chops. She had the intro bit, then she was front and center throughout most of the dance numbers, and then she was really awesome as Go-to-Hell Kitty. Man, the Chicago costumes brought back memories.... I miss her in Moon Troupe. Hoshina Yuri was also excellent as Hunyak. .... Actually, it's a little eerie how those two roles matched the personality of a lot of the roles they played while in the Revue.

There were a couple of places that got laughter that I think they weren't expecting at first, but by closing night they were kind of hamming it up. Like the lines at the very end, where Velma and Roxie talk about how they represent American values. Ironic in the original show, it was hilarious spoken in Japanese.

The rest of the company was also excellent. I was impressed by their dancing every time. And the youngest members, who were not listed in the cast lists for NY, actually were there! (Although only for the Encore.) I was so happy! Especially because I was always stage right and a couple of times Hayami-chan was RIGHT THERE. :3

OK, so let's talk Encore! The gentleman from Lincoln Center who arranged to have the performance is also apparently the one who requested a little mini-revue, so this was something added just for the NYC leg of the tour. And it was AMAZING. Basically a jumble of famous revue numbers from the past.

The first three numbers were in the 2015 "Guys and Dolls" line-dance costumes. Four of the ladies were out in the audience for part of it. It was Koumi Maito (I think?) and Hayami Sei stage right, not sure who was stage left.
"Hello Takarazuka!"
"Mambo! No. 5"
"Mira Cats"

"Solamente Una Vez" - Asaji Saki as otokoyaku, Mizu Natsuki and Yamato Yuuga as femme fatales, not sure who sang the shadow chorus
"El Tango de Roxanne" - Shizuki Asato sang as otokoyaku, Kozuki Wataru, Hoshina Yuri, and Aono Yuki as femme fatales. Zunko is not a dancer, so I am not sure why they had her dancing in this number instead of just singing. She managed to drop someone 2 out of the 3 times that I saw the show, poor thing.
"That's Life" - Mori Keaki as otokoyaku with company. Gorgeous. Takarazuka.
"Glory to Be Takarasiennes (Takarasienne ni Eikou Are)" - aka the "Fairy" song. Wao Youka and Asami Hikaru
"Takarazuka, Home in My Heart (Takarazuka, Wa ga Kokoro Furusato)" - Mine Saori and company (Eeeeeverbody in an otokoyaku gunbu dance. I reeeeaaaaally want to know what the musumeyaku felt to get to dance in it.)
"Sumire no Hana Sakugoro" - Hatsukaze Jun as etoile while the company took their bows with feather fans, and the three principals from the performance came out in feathers.

Each time I saw the show people became more and more confident about clapping when the former top stars made their appearances during their encore numbers. My three times I made certain there was clapping for Marimo and Yuri, who I think a lot of non-fans and younger fans don't really know. After the show and before the encore, the three principals of the cast gave a super-titled talk to introduce Takarazuka and the encore. On closing night Zunko, Wataru, and Komu kept forgetting their lines. XD

It was supremely awesome. So awesome. The best of Takarazuka revue show vibes with 12 former top stars. And my tickets were all row A & B, so this was really the closest I've ever been to the stage during a Takarazuka performance. Those 20 minutes made sitting through Chicago three times worth it. So worth it.

Have you seen a production of OG Chicago? What did you think?
ekusudei: (Default)
Moon Troupe - Tokyo Theater
December 2014

Leads: Ryuu Masaki & Manaki Reika

[ TakaWiki ] [ Daily Sports photos ] [ Asahi photo gallary ]

So, eight years ago I watched and reviewed Suzukaze Mayo's version of PUCK. It was cute, but not the kind of show which I fell in love with. And, indeed, over the years I've become less and less enamored with Takarazuka comedies. I was... less than enthusiastic when I found out Masaki would be doing Puck, and that it would be the 100th anniversary show I would end up seeing because of the timing. But I reminded myself that this might be the last time I would get to see her on a Takarazuka stage, and then I reminded myself that I fell in love with cute, adorable, ken-3 Masaki -- How often does a top star get to play an adorable role like Puck? This was the enormous smile that I first fell for. And, lastly, I think we can all agree that there is a magic to live shows that makes them more special than anything we watch only on DVD.

All of which means that in the end the musical grew on me. Certainly, I felt the romance more than I remember feeling it in Suzukaze's version. And that romance made me happy♥

Anyway, summary can be read on the TakaWiki. It's one of Koike's earlier productions, but even twenty years ago the majority of his shows were serious, dramatic pieces. This one tends to stand out. In his notes in the program, he mentions that at the time (summer of 1991) he had written and directed Great Gatsby, which got some grumbles because people felt that as a summer show it didn't match with the Hankyu theme park Family Land, which used to be beside the Grand Theater. Puck, Koike notes, was his "revenge"--a show that families could see over summer vacation in 1992. Apparently it turned his wife (who had never seen a Takarazuka show before then) into an instant Suzukaze Mayo fan, but Koike's own two young daughters preferred the summer fireworks. ;)

Someone else became a fan of the show, although she never saw it live. Masaki bought the soundtrack (back then they recorded the entire shows and released them on cassette and CD, similar to how they do the 2-acts today) and fell in love with the show, listening to it over and over again and memorizing all of the lines. When she became top star, she went to the theater management and to Koike and begged to be able to revive Puck.

Well, with all of that backstory, I think I appreciated the show even more. *grin* I saw it five times: three times as planned, then once from tachimi, and an amazing Christmas gift from a wonderful friend of a ticket to see closing night.

So! On to the review: )

Overall, recommended for current Moon Troupe fans, for fans of ridiculous Takarazuka comedies, and for fans of A Midsummer Night's Dream.


So, Crystal Takarazuka is by Nakamura Satoru, who is that rare beast who still does an even mix of musical performances and revue shows. Actually, recently he's been doing more directing of special performances and revivals of other playwrights. But a lot of people know his Manon. I also really liked his The Labyrinth of Loving You and Somewhere in Time adaptation. His Dance Romanesque grew on me.

In fact, Crystal Takarazuka has a lot of parallels to Dance Romanesque, including the folk/fairy tale scene, the young otokoyaku pop scene, and the lovely modern dance group number. Check out the Wikipedia page for a run-down of the scenes.

Things which really made me happy about this revue include: the chuzume, the chuzume, the chuzume, and the otokoyaku staircase number.

The chuzume was a Latin bit, using songs by the Gypsy Kings. Shockingly, none of the music was cut for the DVD/blu-ray release. Why did this scene make me happy? Because it was classic Asako, including a resurgence of costumes from Apasionado. Because it meant Masaki trying to make Asako's patented sexy-Latin-face while wearing said ridiculous costumes. Because she pulled it off. Because one day I was dead-center, first row in the balcony and sexy-Latin-face-Masaki looked right at me that part of the balcony for a large portion of the scene and winked at me us. Because I think my heart may have exploded out of my chest about fifteen times. Yes. That.

I also enjoyed this revue because Chapi may be Dancing Queen, but we are not so far behind her. Masaki's dancing has improved enormously in the past 2.5 years. I am so proud of her! I almost didn't have my heart in my throat waiting for her to fall down the Grand Staircase. Except then she said that she's (still) terrified of going down the Grand Staircase and I got my heart in my throat again. Poor baby. We are still not Mariko, but we ARE a Top Star♥♥

And Hayami Sei had an amazing moment with Masaki in the modern dance number that made me literally squeal the first time I saw it. Thank you, Nakamura-S, or Hirasawa-S, or whoever decided to give her that for her last show. You rock a lot.

Umi made a lovely etoile. Now I just have to actually remember her face. (For some reason right now we have an over-abundance of long-faced, mature-ish looking musumeyaku. I think this is awesome, but I cannot tell any of them apart. *weeps*)

Overall, this revue is awesome. Okay, okay, if you're not a Moon Troupe fan you may find it pretty standard Takarazuka fare. But I loved it. Even the obnoxious young otokoyaku pop number was bearable because An-chan was in it.

I was so happy I could be there for Yuumin's last show, and for An-chan's last show with Moon Troupe. The Moon Troupe in Puck was almost unrecognizable to me at first, with all of the retirements and transfers in the past three years. But then I looked deeper, and I realized that Moon Troupe will always be Moon Troupe.
ekusudei: (Star Troupe)
Hey, look, a real review. I don't think I've done one of these in years. (I remember why now, too. Talk about spending days on something...)

Angel's Ladder
(Pride and Prejudice)
Star Troupe - Nippon Seinenkan
March 10th, 15:00

Stars: Suzumi Shio & Otoha Minori

[ TakaWiki ] [ Project Gutenberg ]

Random thought before the curtain went up: When did they change the drop curtain at Nippon Seinenkan? It's totally cute now!

Random thought before the curtain went down: Toyoko said, "And Aran Kei-san is here watching the show today" and the audience went nuts. Guys, guys, I love Touko too, but you shouldn't cheer for her more loudly than you cheered for the cast..... XD

Anyway, FABULOUS SHOW. I was both excited and apprehensive when this show was announced, and also, I admit, not seeing Toyoko as Darcy in any way, shape or form. Yet Suzuki-sensei and Toyoko both won me over completely.

The Title

First off, the story behind the title. It is Angel's Ladder, or Jacob's Ladder, the name for a formation of crepuscular rays (On YouTube). This is the only real change that Suzuki-sensei made from the original, which he wove throughout the story. Basically, Lizzy likes the story behind Angel's Ladder, the light and clouds forming a ladder to heaven. Her liking and daydreaming about the story is laughed at by Bingley's more sophisticated sisters, but Darcy starts reading about it on the sly, and even passes on a book about the Angel's Ladder to his sister Georgiana. All of which gives an excuse for the theme song about meeting an angel (Lizzy) which Darcy sings, and for Bingley to talk endlessly about his angel Jane.

Normally I don't like the Zukification of my favorite classics, but I think this was a good choice because it fit the time and characters of the story to a certain degree and didn't jar like some things do in other adaptations. It meant that Lizzy became a bit more of a daydreamer and a bit less of the level-headed young woman that I picture her as, but I think that was bound to happen with a Takarazuka adaptation in any case.

The Adaptation

Read more... )

The Costumes, Music and Dancing

Read more... )

The Cast

Read more... )

I really, really, really want this show on DVD. It inspired me to write to Suzuki-sensei, and I've never actually written to a director before. So take that for the amazing thing that it is, I suppose. XD Basically, the casting was spot-on PERFECT and the show was hilarious and lovely and made my fangirl heart flutter in all the right places (The forehead bump!!♥♥).
ekusudei: (Flower Troupe)
Ugggghhh... What a weekend. So, back when the P&P adaptation was announced, I was determined to see it. And then horrified when I realized it was only playing one weekend in Tokyo, because you just never know about weekend shows in Tokyo--sometimes they sell out incredibly quickly. So I lined up at the ticket machines ten minutes before they went on sale last month and snagged a ticket to the 3 PM show because I am lazy and that meant I could sleep in just that bit more on my weekend.

And then as I was idly flipping through ticket sales comparing shows a couple of weeks ago I realized just how badly Resurrection / Canon was selling and that there would be enough tickets left to breeze in five minutes before the curtain went up and still snag a seat. And so I decided to double-kangeki it on Saturday, especially since I hadn't been to the theater in two months and I was feeling withdrawal. ;)

But I ended up missing my train by about twenty seconds (curses to slow people blocking my escalators!), and the next wasn't for thirty minutes, so I actually ended up missing the first fifteen or so minutes of Resurrection. Oops. But, despite that, I have to say I really enjoyed this show. ..... I also realized that it was my first time seeing Hanagumi live since Gu Bijin. ...... oops. How did that happen? Oh, yes, Mame and Ayane retired and I started my campaign to actually save money. *sigh*

ANYWAY! Here is why Resurrection and Canon are fabulous and you should see them!

Resurrection / Canon
Flower Troupe, 2012
Tokyo Theater - March 10th 11:00

Stars: Ranju Tomu & Ranno Hana

[ TakaWiki ] [ Asahi Shinbun Photos ]

Read more... )

In conclusion, sometimes I'm really glad my taste is very different from the kind of shows that sell out like crazy, because it means I can slip in and get tickets like this♥ I would totally buy this DVD, because I really enjoyed both the musical and the revue.

PS - The one flaw, I almost forgot! "Dmitri" in katakana..... "Oh, Dormitory, how I love you!" ..... Kind of hard to keep up the angsty momentum when you want to crack up whenever the main character's name is said.

Ocean's 11

Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:52 pm
ekusudei: (Star Troupe)
Ocean's 11
Star Troupe, 2011-12

Stars: Yuzuki Reon & Yumesaki Nene

[ TakaWiki ] [ Engeki Kick: Takarazuka Journal (photos) ]

Official English Summary:

Read more... )

What I Thought:

Koike made quite a lot of changes from the movie plot, most of which make sense when you consider the expectations of a Takarazuka Grand Theater performance. Read more... )

Overall an entertaining show, and probably one that I would go see again live, but not one that I would buy on DVD.


Aug. 5th, 2011 08:40 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
I'm about three shows behind, but I'll do this one first because it's the quickest.

Shibuki Jun 25th Anniversary Concert
Le Theater Ginza, July 30th 1 p.m.

Pure fun. Luckily I had a bit of warning from reading a news article about the Friday performance, so the Lady Gaga didn't catch me entirely by surprise, otherwise I may have had a bit of a laugh attack.

Costumes were pure, un-adultered Rika. (A different costume for every.single.number!) The opening number was the Lady Gaga song, and Rika's costume was a mix of cream and see-through, with the see-through prevailing. Cue heart-attack. Ah, Rika....

It was dance, dance,) dance, very Rika. Her fillers were a pair of amazing ballroom dancers! (Plus one "special guest" male singer whose first song was good but second went on forever....)

The next number was so familiar I'm sure it's one of the J-pop songs I listened to when I was in high school, so it was probably by TM Revolution, or something like that. The medley had a couple songs from Takarazuka, then a bunch from her post-Takarazuka career. She sang my favorite number from Genji! (The "I.Lost.My.Mind!" one) *glee*

One number with an enormous, covers-the-stage dress almost seemed like "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", but was a bit different. Mmm....

And the last number was "Lica/Rika", from her concert of that name, which was totally fun to dance along to live!

There were two encores, one in a huge, over-the-top white costume that had bits hanging from the roof to one of her concert encores that I loved before and was also glad to hear live. But it was the second one that made the entire concert. If that had been the only song she sang, I would have been happy. It's a new song by the song-writer whom she colaborated with for Genji (blanking at the mo), and it was all about gratitude for her fans. She came out in jeans and a plain white blouse, in her own hair instead of an elaborate wig. And in that same, straightforward way, she sang to us. And the tears were pouring down her face, which set all of us off too.

Rika. Thank you for bringing me into Takarazuka, but thank you even more for being you, and for all of the amazing things you do every year as an actress. You are amazing and special, and we all love you♥

There were video cameras there. I have hopes. :)


Aug. 5th, 2011 08:40 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
I'm about three shows behind, but I'll do this one first because it's the quickest.

Shibuki Jun 25th Anniversary Concert
Le Theater Ginza, July 30th 1 p.m.

Pure fun. Luckily I had a bit of warning from reading a news article about the Friday performance, so the Lady Gaga didn't catch me entirely by surprise, otherwise I may have had a bit of a laugh attack.

Costumes were pure, un-adultered Rika. (A different costume for every.single.number!) The opening number was the Lady Gaga song, and Rika's costume was a mix of cream and see-through, with the see-through prevailing. Cue heart-attack. Ah, Rika....

It was dance, dance,) dance, very Rika. Her fillers were a pair of amazing ballroom dancers! (Plus one "special guest" male singer whose first song was good but second went on forever....)

The next number was so familiar I'm sure it's one of the J-pop songs I listened to when I was in high school, so it was probably by TM Revolution, or something like that. The medley had a couple songs from Takarazuka, then a bunch from her post-Takarazuka career. She sang my favorite number from Genji! (The "I.Lost.My.Mind!" one) *glee*

One number with an enormous, covers-the-stage dress almost seemed like "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", but was a bit different. Mmm....

And the last number was "Lica/Rika", from her concert of that name, which was totally fun to dance along to live!

There were two encores, one in a huge, over-the-top white costume that had bits hanging from the roof to one of her concert encores that I loved before and was also glad to hear live. But it was the second one that made the entire concert. If that had been the only song she sang, I would have been happy. It's a new song by the song-writer whom she colaborated with for Genji (blanking at the mo), and it was all about gratitude for her fans. She came out in jeans and a plain white blouse, in her own hair instead of an elaborate wig. And in that same, straightforward way, she sang to us. And the tears were pouring down her face, which set all of us off too.

Rika. Thank you for bringing me into Takarazuka, but thank you even more for being you, and for all of the amazing things you do every year as an actress. You are amazing and special, and we all love you♥

There were video cameras there. I have hopes. :)
ekusudei: (Default)
Les Miserables
Imperial Theater 100th Anniversary Special Cast Performance: May 22nd, 7 PM

[ Toho Promotion Video ] (Mostly the regular casts, though.)

Special Cast

Javert: Kaga Takeshi
Jean Valjean: Imai Kiyotaka
Fantine: Iwasaki Hiromi
Eponine: Shimada Kaho
Thenardier: Saitou Haruhiko
Madame Thenardier: Otori Ran
Marius: Ishikawa Zen
Cosette: Kanda Sayaka
Enjolras: Oka Kojirou
Gavroche: Katou Seijirou
Little Cosette: Gamou Ayaka
Little Eponine: Saitou Mahiro
Bishop: Hayashi Akira

(Plus Eri-san in the chorus!)

Oh my god. Oh my god. I really don't have the words. This has been my favorite musical for twenty years, and one of my first CDs (yes, my music collection started as vinyl records and cassette tapes, I am ancient) was the international cast recording, where Shimada Kaho sang Eponine. I never, ever, ever in a million years thought I would get a chance to see her perform that role live.

Read more... )
ekusudei: (Default)
Takarazuka of Love and Youth
Aoyama Theater -- Feb. 19th, 17:00

Mineno Shirayuki (Ryuutan) - Ryuuzaki Kaoru: Makoto Tsubasa
Hoshikaze Suzuko (Tomo) - Yamada Tomoko: Hoshina Yuri
Tachibana Ibuki (Tacchi) - Sawara Ibuki: Ayaki Nao
Benihana Honoka (Beni) - Kawamura Matsu: Ayano Kanami

(Yes, I picked the Tsukigumi OG performance. Ahah.)
Kageyama Kou: Okada Kouki
Hayami Yuusuke: Sakamoto Kenji
Osamu: Matsushita Kouhei

Ueno Hako (Senda Mayumi '82), Misato Maya ('88), Mitsumi Akiho ('95), Kawazu Megumi (Sono Mikage '95), Kanou Chika ('96), Mizuki Mai ('97), Makise Kai ('97), Ryouma Tomo ('98), Natsuzora Momomi ('00), Mine Makoto (Shimizu Kyouka '01), Hinata San ('01), Ayahashi Miyuu ('01), Sen Hafuri ('02), Yamada Yumiko (Yumeka Ayari '02), Shiotsuki Ayaka (Harusaki Koron '05), Sahane Yuna ('06), Takahashi Hiroshi, Tanimoto Mitsuhiro, Abe Yasunori

First of all: How did I not notice Sakamoto Kenji was in the (tiny) male cast list? I nearly had a happy heart-attack when I saw him come out on stage♥

I'm very, very glad I saw this first live on stage. As many times as I had hoped and started to save up for the '08 DVD, somehow it just never happened. That's good. Although I had a vague idea of the premise and I'd seen enough photos to know that someone dies, the rest was all new and could unfold without me having any expectations. I won't say that it's the cleverest or best thing that I've seen on stage (it wasn't), or that it was the most original (also not), but it was highly entertaining and it did play with your heartstrings like a good musical should. I had big tears rolling down my face at one point, and I could hear most of the audience sniffling.

I'll hit the problem first, which mainly was the fact that because they had four main characters' love stories going on it meant that some weren't really alloted enough time to get you attached to the characters. A couple of the songs seemed a bit out of place too. There was one solo that was really discordant (for obvious reasons), but just didn't seem to fit with the other music at all. And, lastly, I'm a stickler for historical accuracy in the weirdest ways, and the Takarazuka stage costumes were really anachronistic. :/

Plot: )

What I Thought: )

In conclusion, buy the DVD! See the show! It's so worth it. :)
ekusudei: (Cosmos Troupe)
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Cosmos Troupe, 2011
Tokyo Theater - 1.15 (16:00) & 1.16 (16:00)

Stars: Ozora Yuuhi & Nono Sumika

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Stage Graph ]

Hmm. It lived up to all of my expectations, and yet.... Well, it's a bit complicated.

So far as the summary goes, well, actually, the one on the TakaWiki isn't 100% accurate to the 2010-11 performance. We should have updated it when the new English summary went up. Oops. I've never read the novel, so I can't say how much it differs. From my hazy memory....

Summary: )

What I Thought:

The bridge scene lived up to the stories! It was pretty amazing. And I liked how they staged the effects during the attack on El Soldo's camp, too. Overall, the rock sets were pretty cool.

Music was catchy. I kind of want the soundtrack when it comes out on iTunes. Kazari Jin's solo as El Soldo was really pretty and got huge applause both shows I saw.

Costumes were really fun for all of the guerrillas and gypsies. Kind of had to buy Tomochin's postcard so that I can look at that outfit whenever the mood strikes me. *laughs*

cast )

Overall, I'm glad that I saw it♥, and I liked it. The chemistry between Yuuhi & Sumika was as amazing as ever. But I guess I was hoping for a really visceral response to the drama that I never completely got, and so I ended up personally disappointed despite its being a very good show.

Studio 54

Jan. 24th, 2011 10:52 pm
ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
Events in the sumary may be slightly out of order, but that doesn't affect the story itself, I think.

Studio 54
Moon Troupe, Nippon Seinenkan
Jan 16th performance

Stars: Kiriya Hiromu & Aono Yuki

[ TakaWiki ] [ Asahi Stage Gallery ]

I'm becoming hopelessly fond of the Nippon Seinenkan, despite always ending up in the balcony (monieeeeee~~~). This time I was up on the 2nd floor, off to house right. (Luckily, as it turned out for Rizu-viewing, not too far right.)

I was too slow on the grab to get one of the last of the free pamphlet "Hot Week"s that they had left over from Bow run -- From what I could see from reading over someone's shoulder, and from what other people told me, they were pretty hilarious. I'm kind of dying to know what the cast wrote, though, in their comments section. I want to know what Nozomu said. T_T

This show made me fall even more in love than I already was with Kiriyan and Marimo as a combi. (I know, I can see you rolling your eyes at me and saying it isn't possible for me to get any more mushy over these two, but they are so perfect together. Hankyu knows what they're about, as usual.)

Summary: )

What I Thought: )

Overall a really fun play. I left the theater grinning and with that Takarazuka buzz, wishing I could see it again. I think it'll be one of those smaller shows that Tsukigumi fans refer to for a long time to come. :)

From what I understand, there are two alternate finales, either Disco 54 or Showa 54. Even before the lights went up, the people around me started murmuring "Showa 54! Showa 54!" as the cast moved into place on the darkened stage. Then the lights went up and "Showa 54" flashed on the curtain. It was a fun medley of 70s disco numbers, the Japanese versions of English ones, and original Japanese ones.
ekusudei: (Default)
So, I hadn't been planning to go see this one, to save money, but I had to go into Tokyo today to pick some things up. So I compromised and made a deal with myself: if there were tachimi left, I'd get one. I went in at 2 PM and sauntered up to the ticket window. There were still B-seki and an S-seki left, so they weren't selling tachimi. I ran my errands, came back at 3 PM, and got a tachimi, possibly terrifying the box office staff by my fist pump when she told me they had sold out all of the regular seats.

I've never gone into the theater so early, but they had already opened the house. I think I was the first one in, actually, as everyone else side-tracked to the bathroom and the omiyage counters, which was a bit daunting, being stared at by ALL of the ushers. XD

Takarazuka Floral Dance Scrolls -Autumn Dance- / An Officer and a Gentleman
2010, Star Troupe -- Tokyo Theater

Stars: Yuzuki Reon & Yumesaki Nene

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Stage Graph ]

Quick-quick review, because it's late and I have to work tomorrow (yuck).

Autumn Dance

I'm very glad I could see Autumn Dance, as I had been wanting to see a Japanese revue for a long time, and Kaze no Nishiki-e does NOT count. The costumes were lovely, the sets were lovely, and the dancing was lovely. Matsumoto-sensei was, as always, perfect. I did have a heart-in-throat moment when she was navigating that staircase, though, since she dances without her glasses. If you knew to look you could see her pause at the top and bottom and surreptitiously feel with her foot to make sure she had counted correctly before moving on.

No one told me there were NINJA! (I suppose this is my own fault for tending to avoid spoilers, but I would have made more of an effort to see the show if I had known.) That scene with the ladies of the night behind their windows and the ninja was just awesome in more ways than I can tell. The pole and the swords and the ladders♥ (Although, my one complaint is that while the sword dancing was lovely, the sword fighting was a bit lacking. I suppose I've gotten spoiled, measuring everything by Hamlet standards.)

Matsumoto-sensei and Suzumi Shio's dance was amazing.

I also liked Ouki Kaname and the otokoyaku with their straw hats. Yumeno Seika♥

It's been so long since I saw Hoshigumi that I had to keep doing double-takes every time I opera-glassed Kurenai Yuzuru. Yuzurun has grown up!

I loved the falling leaves♥ Autumn is my favorite season♥

.... Now I really want to watch Yume no Ukihashi again.

An Officer and a Gentleman

Somehow, despite being amused that Takarazuka was doing this adaption, and despite the sexy short haircuts, it never really called out to me. Even after watching it and genuinely enjoying many of the scenes, it hasn't gripped me.

Read more... )

A fun show, that they worked hard to make into a good Takarazuka-style show with lots of roles for everyone, but with a storyline that suffered a bit as a result. But we can't have everything. Depending on which kind of show you favor, this may be the show for you!

And now, I am looking forward to NOVA BOSSA NOVA!!!!!
ekusudei: (Default)
Oh, look, I'm skipping ahead because this is even less likely to all stay in my head than other things. ;)

Broadway Musical Live 2010
New National Theater, Tokyo
Nov. 14th

Cast (* = Takarazuka OG)
Male SingersFemale SingersChorus
Ishii Kazutaka
Oka Kojiro
Konishi Ryosei
Sakamoto Kenji
Toi Katsumi
Ayano Kanami *
Shijo Rui *
Shizuki Asato *
Doi Yuko
Hosaka Chizu
Ishii Masato
Kojima Ryota
Tamura Yuichi
Yokozawa Kenji
Sahane Yuna *
Shuto Moemi
Hinata San *
Honda Ikuyo
Makise Kai *
Mizuki Mai *
Yamada Yumiko

It was basically two and a half hours of non-stop, amazing singing, with a small fifteen minute intermission in the middle. It wasn't really advertised at all, despite the OGs in the cast, which is kind of unusual (usually they have fliers to former top star's OG things in the Tokyo Theater). I wouldn't have known about it if M hadn't posted about it. Originally it was scheduled for only one performance, but they added a second at 6:30, so I guess it must have sold out fairly quickly. To be quite honest, I think Kanamin basically blew everyone else out of the water, although Ruirui amazed me in being nearly as strong. I fell more than a bit in love with Sakamoto Kenji and Oka Kojiro.

There were only two disappointments. One was that in the tentative program they had posted online, they said someone would sing "Stars" (Les Mis), which I adore, but that got changed. The other I'll get to in its own time.

I spent three hours on this. Why? XD )

Oh, yes, and there were a ton of OGs in the audience, to judge from all their blog posts, but I'm afraid the only person I spotted was a young Hanagumi otokoyaku and I'm still not sure who she was, other than that the Hanagumi fan ladies I was with recognized her and ran over to talk to her. (I spotted her as looking very much like an otokoyaku before they took off, but wasn't 100% sure.)

...I keep remembering things to add. Despite the disappointing performance, I still bought Zunko ♥senjafuda♥. I've never seen an OG selling senjafuda before. They're from Diana. Which reminds me that Wataru sent, like, three enormous bouquets. One to Zunko, one to one of the male actors (though I can't remember now which), and one to .... now I can't remember if it was Kanamin or Ruirui. Oops.
ekusudei: (Default)
The Tale of Genji x Ōguro Maki Songs ~I Love Twelve Hitoe~
Galaxy Theater, October 30th 2PM show

[ Show Blog ]

Star: Shibuki Jun

The Tale of Genji in a modern world somewhat like our own, set to the rock music of Ōguro Maki.

I was not quite certain what we would end up with, but I KNEW I couldn't miss Rika's Genji. Yet I didn't have the money before the deadline and despaired. But called anyway a few weeks later and managed to snag a Saturday ticket. Oh, so very glad I did. As with every Rika show I have managed to see live, I wished I were seeing it a million times instead of just the once. It wasn't one of those life-changing shows, nor something very deep or significant. What it was was two and a quarter hours of quality, high-energy entertainment.

First, the costumes, because they rocked! The men (and Rika) all wore kind of punk, new-age kimono. Mismatched sleeves and Chinese silks and chains and such. The women all wore normal business suits or evening gowns or (in Murasaki's case) school uniforms. (Despite the poster, none of the men ever wore suits in the show.)

Next, the music. Was fun and a mix of pop and softer rock ballads with some forays into near-rap. I actually really enjoyed the one after Genji learns that he's just spent the night with and fallen for his father's new wife. (In English) it began: "You. Broke. My. Heart. I. Lost. My. Mind~!" Very silly stuff.

Lastly, the plot. Was hilarious, fully packed with in-jokes for an audience expected to know the source material inside and out. )

I loved all of the silly jokes, both the verbal ones and the physical ones. Things like:

Koremitsu (to Suzaku): "You're the older brother."
Suzaku: "Yes, but he's taller than me."
As Rika towered in her heeled boots over the guy playing Suzaku.

Hikaru's father hands him a presidential order, which Hikaru unrolls and after an eye-roll, shows to the audience.
Scroll: "須磨へGO!!"
("Suma e GO!!")

Hikaru on his cell phone trying to get a job interview:
"What? My clothes? What's wrong with my clothes?" Pause. "Too flashy?"
He's wearing sparkling gold pants under his multi-colored top.

After Hikaru's father and Fujitsubo finally track Genji down:
Kiritsubo: "What's with all these postcards from all over the world that you sent us? The Eiffel Tower, the pyramids...?"
Hikaru: "I was seeing the world."
Kiritsubo (waving the stack): "Then why are they all post-marked from Gunma?!"
(Rika is from Gunma.)

The fabulous scene where we meet Oborozukiyo for the first time is a pantomime (with sound-effects) with her using the drink machine, dropping a quarter, trying to fish it out of the crack in the floor in a sexy, ladylike way (but ultimately failing both in getting the coin and in remaining cool and sexy), trying again and the machine eating her second coin, and her finally exploding at it and kicking it. Really, hilariously funny. Kuroki Marina (Oborozukiyo) was amazing, actually. Completely wacky and completely sexy and I loved her hair (wig?).

Otsuki Sayu's character was fun. Not huge, but she had the nice benefit of not being in love with Genji. She was Koremitsu's girl, and very level-headed, no-nonsense. She had a great scene where the boys on their coffee break were rating the office ladies as they passed by (hilarious take on the rainy-day conversations chapter), and they gave Otsuki's character a rather low score until she threatened them with bodily harm and suddenly she was a "100!! Full points! Perfect!!". *grin*

While overall I enjoyed all of the changes they made to make the play fit its modern setting and thought a lot of them were quite clever, I'm still not so sure how I felt about turning it into a kind of traditional love story between Genji and Aoi in the end. On the one hand, the actress playing Aoi (Uno Misako) was quite good and slowly won me over to the character of Aoi through the course of the play, and they never went too far I think in changing Hikaru's essentially playboy nature, yet it was still strange to see Murasaki relegated to the background like that.

They will actually be selling a DVD of it. I missed the pre-orders they were apparently taking at the theater, but they said in the show's blog that they'll be taking internet orders too, so I'll be keeping my eye on it!
ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
The Gypsy Baron / Rhapsodic Moon
Moon Troupe, 2010

Stars: Kiriya Hiromu & Aono Yuki

[ TakaWiki ] [ Asahi Photo Gallery ]

The Gypsy Baron

Gypsy is amazing in so many ways<3

I had been hearing a lot about the 6-minute pair dance in the beginning, set to the overture (I think?), and it really blew my mind. As usual, Marimo and Kiriyan move as if they are extensions of each other. They really are the perfect combi, and every time I see Kiriyan do a complicated lift I think of Mariko<3 I LOVE our top combi.

Many of the songs from Strauss's original score are only slightly arranged, I believe, and then some few songs were added. Much of it is in triple-time, which they mention in many interviews gave them some trouble singing and dancing at first, since it's a rhythm they rarely encounter. The chorus arrangements--all of the songs, really--also had that familiar operatic feel. I'll admit, I was quite stunned by the chorus vocals. They blend so well and sound AMAZING. The solos also sounded very good, and the duets were moving as well, although in one they have Marimo singing up at the edge of her range, which can get piercing. In general, though, they have her singing alto, and it's *beautiful*.

From the few photos I had seen, I wasn't sure how fond I'd be of the sets, but the pig house grew on me. It has a charming fairy-tale feel. And the ruins of Sterk's father's castle are just awesome! I love when they use the rotating stage during the play half♥

I adore the costumes, particularly Sterk's and the gypsies'. Lots of blacks and reds and fun designs. The exception being Tamakichi's - She has a long open vest/jacket that hangs straight with no patterns or lines to it at all, and so she looks like the villain in an Arabian tale. (^^; That, or a stork.

I also love Kiriyan and Marimo and Masaki's hair pieces, extensions, and wigs.<3 Kiriyan's in particular is this perfect wild mane that hangs halfway down her back and looks like something out of a medieval romance novel. You really want to be the maiden with that head in your lap. It fits her character perfectly.

Summary )

Actresses & Small Complaints )

Rhapsodic Moon

I just-I..... Yes. It's as loud as people had warned me. But I was expecting the loud colors (we always wear yellow and orange in the specials, after all), and the loud music wasn't as bad from my habitual balcony seat.

I fell in love with the opening with the orange neon outfits. Because it was so Tsukigumi, and because there was Masaki, in the nibante place. It was rather incredible; I don't think I can even explain it. I just sat there and thought about the past four years worth of revue shows, and opera-glassing Masaki back somewhere, moving slowly up. And now, here she was. Granted, sharing with Mirio, but still. There. Right there. It's an *amazing* feeling -- I'm sure I had a very stupid grin on my face the entire time.

Overall, though, I have to admit I'm not really a big fan of Nakamura Kazunori-sensei, or his revues. Still! I looked on the bright side; no chansons.

If you want more info on the various scenes, I've added it to the TakaWiki. But, in summary:

Prologue: LOVE
Castle Shining Under the Moon: Pretty Marimo dancing. Baaaaaad wig, Kiriyan. Mini-Death Mirio, who apparently sometimes turns into mini-Phantom. I have not seen this, but I'm told her face is too small to pull off a half-mask properly. (We all agreed that for the same reason, Masaki should not be allowed anywhere near a half-mask.)
Moon Dance: SUIT MASAKI♥ (Club ladies, you are crazy. She looks just fine in a suit.) Singing Masaki in a spotlight♥ Nibante Masaki♥
LUZ Moonlight: I was not fond of the chuzume, despite the Masaki nibante-ness. BUT. Marimo's scene? Where she sang a solo all by herself in front of the curtain because she is just. That. Awesome? *LOVE!*
CARAVAN & Desert Moon: Intellectually, I know I should love these scenes. I certainly adored the bit with the duet dance. I'll give it some time.
Finale: Giving Sonoka that vocal solo, instead of having her dance in CARAVAN & Desert Moon is a criminal act. Firstly, no Sonoka dancing!? Secondly, this song does not fit her vocals and, oh dear. :( Line dance was the usual. I spent much of it thinking Hanahi Mira was Mippou, which tells you how tired I was by that point. Black tailcoat otokoyaku dance was sexy, but also seemed to lack something. I suspect that was the exhaustion, though. Finale duet dance to "I Will Survive"? Too amazing. Doesn't hurt that Rizu-chan picks up the song with Kijou Mitsuru, after Kiriyan stops singing and starts dancing♥♥

Altogether, an enjoyable revue, and one I won't mind watching multiple times. But not one that made my heart swell so much it felt like it might burst. At least, if it weren't for NIBANTE MASAKI. That alone will make this revue memorable for me. ;)
ekusudei: (Yuuhi - The Last Party)
Trafalgar / Funky Sunshine
Tokyo Theater -- July 18th 11:30

Stars: Ozora Yuuhi & Nono Sumika

[ TakaWiki ] [ Stage Graph ]

Although most of the fun in Takarazuka is in watching the younger girls, or rather, in taking in the chorus as a whole, that can cause problems when you want to actually focus on the top stars. And so I think I've come to be grateful that Yuuhi and Sumika were moved to Soragumi, a troupe where I don't really have any other favorites. Most of the time I can concentrate on them and not get distracted.

Which isn't to mean that I don't think there are very many talented people in Soragumi! But they're not really my focus right now. So, as usual, my Soragumi show report is going to be a bit light on people, which isn't meant with any disrespect. Only that I saw the show only once, so I focused on the two who were most important to me, and then on Alice, for obvious reasons. ... Okay, with a healthy dose of Tomochin. ;)

Read more... )

So, hm, final verdict: I enjoyed it and I'm glad I went to see it, but it's not one that I would rave about.
ekusudei: (Hinata San - Jubilee Program)
Jubilee VIII ~Special Edition~
Buddhist Hall -- July 10th, 18:30

[ Official Web Site ]

Cast: Kanzaki Jun, Iori Naoka (OG), Tasai Shun (OG), Otomo Reika (OG), Hinata San (OG), Myuji, Miura Kouta, Kawamura Kazuna, Akane Koyuki, Satou Eiichi, Shimizu Atsuko, Sugiyama Nao, Tokuyama Taeko, Hikari, Kondou Kaita, Kondou Anmi, Fukushima Katsushige

It was a really, really short run --only four performances over two days-- and the cast was much smaller than the previous Jubilee. Despite all of that, they still put together a really great performance. I'm a bit torn over which I liked better.

Read more... )

Tickets are expensive, but you get the feeling that the money is going directly to these people, and the warm feeling between the cast, and between the cast and the small audience is something special. If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend going to see Jubilee.

After that show, there was an After-Talk. Mame had told us about it ahead of time, so I was expecting it, and that's why I originally asked for a ticket to such a late performance. Mame was the MC and came out talking a mile-a-minute, as she does. Iori-san apparently can't understand her when she does that (or her own mother, either), she told the audience, so she was going to do her best to talk slowly. .... She did try. Through the magic of ...something, I can actually follow her even when she's talking like a humming bee♥

It was a cute talk. They all talked a bit about back-stage things and the rehearsals. And Iori-san talked about her daughter. Kanzaki-san seemed more relaxed than he was after raku in January. He called Mame the "Mood-Maker". *grin* Miuta talked about staring in some Korean drama which is coming to Japan soon.

I'm a bit sad Mame won't be in Jubilee IX next winter, but not tooooo sad, because I know what she is going to be in. But she hasn't posted it publicly yet, so please wait to find out! :D
ekusudei: (Hinata San - Jubilee Program)
The Land of All-Powerful God
Haiyuza Theater, June 5th 14:30

Starring: Osawa Mikio, Fuuta, Azuma Takeshi, ARCHE, Hinata San, etc.

Official Site

Summary: )

What I Thought: )

Altogether I left the theater wanting to turn right back around and see it again, but the last three shows were all sold out by that point. Oh, I wish I had been less sensible and gotten a second ticket when I had the chance..... So hard to call it, but this was possibly the best show that I saw this year.

(Also, I spent a lot of the play gazing at Matsushima Kenichiro (Shibata Katsuie), who is so ruggedly attractive and scowls so well♥)

Gu Bijin

Jun. 16th, 2010 11:26 pm
ekusudei: (play without words)
Gu Bijin
Flower Troupe, 2010
May 15th 16:00 & May 30th 16:00 shows

Stars: Matobu Sei & Sakurano Ayane

[ TakaWiki ] [ Asahi Photo Gallery: Gu Bijin ]

I... I keep putting this off until I'll have a full day to work on it, but I've come to realize that's just not going to happen anytime soon. So I'll now attempt a two-hour version of why this is the best show that I've seen since Yume no Ukihashi or Kurotokage.

Here there be SPOILERS!

Summary: )

What I Thought: )

So, in conclusion: If you were saving up for any version of Legend because you like grand Asian costume spectacles, throw away such a thought and get Gu Bijin instead. You won't regret it! ♥

Translation to follow once Tsukigumi leaves Tokyo♥
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
An Ephemeral Opera
Nippon Seinenkan
May 9th, 2010

Star: ♥Shibuki Jun♥

I'm not entirely certain why I thought this show was about Marlene Dietrich. I thought I had read that it was, but obviously I had assumed and then thought that I had researched it... and never did. XD

It's actually an original story, with the main character of Mei Fa based loosely on a combination of Kawashima Yoshiko and Li Xianglan (Yamaguchi Yoshiko). In fact, she even sings "Suzhou Serenade" (蘇州夜曲) during the show.

Summary & What I Thought )

I am so, so, SO glad that they brought the show to Tokyo, even if only for three days. I was really disappointed when I couldn't make it down to Osaka last year to see it.

What else...? Oh, it was the last show, so they had several curtain calls and a standing ovation at the end. And at the last curtain call, Rika got the entire cast to say "Gokigen uruwashuu" and give us a hand-twirl, a joke on a line her character says in the show♥ She was definitely happy at the standing ovation. ;)

And she had flowers from Anju Mira, Makoto Tsubasa, Kozuki Wataru, Juri Sakiho, and... possibly Matsu Akira? I didn't get a good look at the last one, so I'm not sure if the flowers from Matsu Akira were for her, or for one of her male co-stars.


ekusudei: (Default)

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