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)
puck-poster PUCK / CRYSTAL TAKARAZUKA
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.

IMAG1059 CRYSTAL TAKARAZUKA

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: (Moon Troupe)
Arsène Lupin / Fantastic Energy!
Moon Troupe, 2013

Top Stars: Ryuu Masaki & Manaki Reika

[ TakaWiki ] [Daily Sports Online photos ]

Well, okay, we all know I'm enamored of Masatsuka-Sensei's hard-boiled musicals, even though they appear to send every other foreign fan fleeing in the other direction. Masaki's final shinko lead was a Masatsuka-sensei show, so I was curious to see how she would appear in one of his lead roles six years later. (Oh my god, has it been seven years?) Overall, I enjoyed it. I'll admit, however, that even for one of his convoluted plots, this one was super-convoluted. Usually I can follow the hook; this one left me lost on the finer details, and even after skimming through the script there are a few that are still hazy, but I think this was Masatsuka-sensei being subtle. Or, rather, even more so than usual. Save us all. This is what I love about his shows, but it can also be extremely frustrating. All of that said, take my summary with a rather large grain of salt.

Speaking of, I swear I was just going to write a quick summary, but somehow it got away from me.

Summary )

What I Thought )

Overall, I'll repeat what I usually say about a Masatsuka-sensei show: If you don't like his shows in general, then this one is probably not for you. Usually I either really love a Masatsuka-sensei show (Who Is Bad?, La Mariposa, Scout), or I really dislike it (Too Short a Time). It's not often that I like it in spite of itself (although I might argue that case for Last Play). I think that tends to happen when I like the dialogue and certain scenes, but I'm not crazy about the plot in general, and there aren't any outstanding song or dance numbers.


Fantastic Energy! )

Um, can you tell I can't decide how I feel about this show? I didn't fall in love with it, but... it wasn't terrible? I was super-happy to watch Masaki rocking the revue "S."
ekusudei: (Default)
Too Short a Time to Fall in Love / Heat On Beat!
Moon Troupe - National Tour, 2012

Stars: Ryuu Masaki & Manaki Reika

[ TakaWiki ] [ My Review of '06 Too Short ] [ My "Review" of '09 Heat On Beat! ]

I'll admit that when I heard Masaki would be doing these shows I was less than thrilled. Both of them had been sayonara performances, and trying to squash any top star into another's sayonara performance is a lot like trying to shove an elephant into a Volkswagon Beetle--It just doesn't fit. Add to that the fact that most of the chemistry in Too Short is between the top star and nibante, and Wataru and Touko had had so much history to give that even more poignancy at the time. Finally, well, to be honest I had been disappointed by Chapi in R&J. Juliette is a pretty shallow character and just the sort I really dislike the top musumeyaku doing, and it undid all of the good vibes I had built in Gypsy Baron for her spirited (if a bit hysterical) Violka. Frankly, I was concerned this trend would continue. Which is perhaps why I haven't had the nerve to watch the DVDs that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf. The other reason is that I have no one to watch things with, which takes most of the fun out of it.

But I finally decided I was getting a bit ridiculous, two years into Masaki's run as top star. So, I begin.

Too Short a Time to Fall in Love

Summary: )

What I Thought: )

Heat On Beat!

(See TakaWiki for scene descriptions.)

What I Thought: )
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♥♥
Parade: NIBANTE. NIBANTE.

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. ;)

Phoenix

Sep. 20th, 2010 11:31 pm
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
Phoenix
Flower Troupe, 1994

Stars: Anju Mira & Morina Miharu

[ TakaWiki ]

Oh dear. I'm afraid I didn't like Takarazuka's "Phoenix" any more than I liked "Black Jack", when I saw it four years ago. Overall it was rather tasteless, and I'm afraid at some point my joy in tasteless 80s and 90s revues seems to have rubbed off a bit. It doesn't help that I'm not much of a Tezuka Osamu fan. (Heresy, I know.) I felt nothing but sorry for Misa Noeru, stuck in that Professor Ochanomizu get-up. :/

But there were a few scenes that redeemed it♥

* The Flora Planet scenes had a very pretty song for Morina Miharu to sing, and all of the young otokoyaku stars were in androgynous drag. Tamo and Gaichi were very pretty. :)

* I had never seen the Grand Theater role list for the revue, only the Tokyo casting, so was rather ecstatic when they got to the Our World scenes and it was RIKA DANCING WITH MIKI. Rika, such a girl. How did she ever make it as an otokoyaku? ♥

* The line dance was choreographed by Sha Tamae-sensei! It was really lovely, as you'd expect of Sha-sensei.

* There was one more, but now I've lost it again. Maybe it was the tuxedo number...?


And that's rather all I have to say about that. *laughs*
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: (Mizu Natsuki)
One highly-biased review, coming up! ;)

The Dawn at Solferino / Carnevale: A Sleeping Dream
Snow Troupe 2010
Tokyo Theater, April 11th 11:30 AM

Leads: Mizu Natsuki & Aihara Mika

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Stage Graph ]

The Dawn at Solferino

Overall I didn't care for the musical show, and I'll tell you why. I enjoy talky productions, but I enjoy them because the dialogue is snappy, and because there is some over-arching mystery or spy drama going on. I don't enjoy talky productions with stale, repetitive dialogue, where the same four characters rehash the same arguments over and over and over. There was no mystery -- there wasn't even really any worry of how the show would end, since we all know Dunant succeeds. I suppose the "growth" of Aihara's character is supposed to be where the dramatic tension is, but I found her annoying, and, again, thanks to typical Ueda-Sensei dialogue, every time she opened her mouth she was just saying the same thing again and again. Not caring at all what happened to her sucks the small seeds of engagement out of the show.

Read more... )

I think it's a show that will appeal to Yukigumi fans on account of how well Ueda-Sensei was at giving everyone stage time, and giving fair time to Yumiko in her last show.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Carnevale: A Sleeping Dream

LOVED THE REVUE SHOW!!!!

Mizu danced a lot, which made me very, very happy. Hamako sang a lot of hauntingly lovely songs, which made me ecstatic.

In fact, Hamako was on stage nearly the entire time, decorating the apron stages, so I'm afraid I missed a lot of the revue, except out of the corner of my eye. She grinned, she made faces, she passed out and collected hats and capes and, of course (being a Mask Seller), masks♥

Read more... )

Best of all? I checked the DVD/CD pages -- no music or scene cuts! Inaba-Sensei's first grade for a Grand Theater production = A+

In summary: LOVED it, want Inaba-S for Tsukigumi instead of Nakamura. *pout*
ekusudei: (heart-eyes)
Habsburg no Houken / BOLERO
Star Troupe Tokyo Performance, 11AM March 14th

Stars: Yuzuki Reon / Yumesaki Nene

[ Taka Wiki ] [ Sumire Style Graph ] [ Novel Summaries ]

Habsburg no Houken


"Habsburg" was, in many ways, simply a vehicle to allow Chie to sing lots and lots of powerful, angsty songs on the ginkyo. If you like Chie singing powerfully while dressed all in black, this would be the show for you.

I do.

I absolutely melted in my seat through most of it.

Habsburg no Houken )

Hm, not going to summarize the plot, as the TakaWiki and novel summaries do that quite thoroughly enough. But it wasn't a terrible one, all things considered. I enjoyed the music enormously (beautiful score) with the ironic exception of Levay's theme song, which was rather boring. I loved the costumes and the staging.

All said, I think I would recommend it, although a know many people who saw it didn't care for it. Its major lack is the fact that it doesn't give many people (even the star-tracked ones) a lot to do, and so isn't very Takarazuka-esque. If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, you might enjoy it quite a bit. :)

BOLERO


I don't have the programme, so this is going to be rather haphazard impressions rather than anything useful. I enjoyed it, but it was much more laid-back than I was expecting, and following a musical with such a dark mood, I expected something with a bit more... crack? It took forever for the disco ball to come out. ;)

It had a lot of very beautiful classically-inspired dance numbers, though! And the otokoyaku suits and tuxedo scenes were love as well, and Kaname made a recovery here in hotness quotient. ;)

Not sure we needed the voice-overs about doves and searching for lost-loves and whatever. I think this was a revue that might have benefited from not trying to be so coherent. XD

OMG, the gold-whatever costumes and EVERYONE IN HOSHIGUMI has boobs. Terrifying.

There wasn't a lift in the final pair dance. What was the two-hop about, really? XD

I wasn't hallucinating, Tomomin was in a leotard during the animal scenes, wasn't she? <3


Final verdict: I WANT TO SEE HABSBURG AGAIN. *sigh*

Jubilee VII

Feb. 1st, 2010 01:16 pm
ekusudei: (Hinata San - Jubilee Program)
Jubilee VII ~Special Moment~
Sunday, January 31st, 3 PM senshuuraku

[ Official Web Site ]

Cast: Kanzaki Jun, Nakamura Shigeyuki, Iori Naoka (OG), Maori Yuki (OG), Tsuda Eisuke, Dan Hitomi (OG), Tasai Shun (OG), Mayuka Reo (OG), Mebae Haruka (OG), Tama Mayura (OG), Hinata San (OG), Fukushima Katsushige, Fujita Shin, Kondou Kaita, Kondou Anmi, Hayami Shou, Satou Eiichi, Miura Kouta, Shimizu Atsuko, Sugiyama Nao, Tokuyama Taeko, Miyama Saki, Hikari, Takekuma Rie, Haruta Atsushi (Gendan Shiki), Kusabue Masako (OG, Gendan Shiki)

I really enjoyed it! I would definitely go see it again, even if there was no one whom I especially supported in the cast. I do not, however, think that all Takarazuka fans would automatically enjoy it.

Read more... )

Yep, definitely going to try to go to VIII next year, if there is one.
ekusudei: (BAD has never been so GOOD)
I've been holding onto this show for three (four?) years now. Because once I watched it, that was it. No more Bun-chan & Mahiru top combi to look forward to. (I don't think I could sit through Junjou, even for them) Konno Mahiru I've adored in every shinko lead I've seen her in. She was an amazing musumeyaku; I can understand why she had seven! And Bun-chan, Bun-chan... So sweet♥ My fuzzy-sweater otokoyaku♥

It was well worth the wait! I'd totally forgotten that it was a Masatsuka-Sensei musical. Ahahahah, it all comes back to my love-affair with Masatsuka, doesn't it?

Memories of Barcelona / On the Fifth
Snow Troupe 2002, Tokyo Raku

Stars: Emao Yuu & Konno Mahiru

[ TakaWiki ] [ On the 5th Stage Graph ]

I shouldn't really call these reviews any more, when I can't be bothered to do more than ramble incoherently. Ah well. ;)

What I Thought of Barcelona: )

This one is a watch again and again and again kind of show.

What I Thought of On the Fifth: )

Emao Yuu Sayonara Show )
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
Passion Blue
Star Troupe, 1996

Stars: Asaji Saki & Shiraki Ayaka

[ TakaWiki ] [ "Who Is Bad?" Review ]

It's been nearly three years since I reviewed "Who Is Bad?", and I knew from the show description, from the cast, and from clips I've seen on various Sky Stage programs that I'd love "Passion Blue", but.... I've never been able to find the VHS in Taka-An. Bad luck, hey? But they finally re-broadcast it last October, so-!

It reminds me thematically of revue shows like "La Bolero Rouge" (another of Miki-Sensei's) and "Blue Moon Blue", but with more primitive costumes. So, a few years before its time, I suppose? Anyway, let's just say that it is indeed in my top ten revue shows, ever. I can't resist Mariko, Rika, and Wataru all dancing together on one stage, and when you throw in my adored combi of Mariko/Ayaka, plus Emao Yuu, Ayaki Nao, Otowa Ryou, and all the other young stars it's impossible to resist. (I enjoy playing spot-the-MatobuSei and spot-the-AsazumiKei, and spot-the-KuonMaya.)

Especially when Rika and Wataru (ken-8! so cute!) are dance-fighting over Tomo Maika in suits and fedoras.

Or Mariko and Rika are dancing together as gypsies♥

Or SO MANY HOT MARIKO/AYAKA PAIR DANCES ngbrkilhbgrbkbj!!!

Let's just say it pushes all of my revue buttons. Even the line dance was entertaining. ;)
ekusudei: (Default)
The Last Play / Heat on Beat!
Moon Troupe 2009 Tokyo
Nov. 27th, 2009


Star: Sena Jun

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Sumire Style Stage Graph ]

Summary:

spoilers behind most of the cuts )

What I Thought:

Just want to get my first impressions down before I see it again, so this'll be quick.

This is Tsukigumi. The suit troupe. The gangster troupe. The western musical troupe. The troupe of ridiculously hot tangos. The troupe that I fell in love with. All of the things that I love about Daichi Mao's troupe, and Tsurugi Miyuki's troupe, and Amami Yuuki's troupe, and Kuze Seika's troupe, and Tsubasa Makoto's troupe, and Shibuki Jun's troupe, and Sena Jun's troupe. The people might be completely different, but something intrinsically Tsukigumi is always there. That's why--although of course I'm sad about the retirements!--I'm not devastated. It will still be Tsukigumi♥

Read more... )

On the Revue:

I've added in the little blurbs for all of the revue acts on the TakaWiki.

Read more... )
ekusudei: (BAD has never been so GOOD)
WARNING: 99.999999999% of fandom thinks Jen is on crack.
WARNING: Jen has never liked Takarazuka BeruBara.
WARNING: Jen likes Hanagumi.

How do you make BeruBara appealing?

(1) Starve the subject of contact with live Takarazuka theater for two months
(2) Stuff show full of beloved seito
(3) Leave in subject's favorite lines
(4) Add lovely BGM
(5) Seat subject in optimal location for Hot Stare GET!!!
(6) Hinata San, Hinata San, Hinata San♥♥♥



[this official title translation cracks me up, must use]
A Spin-Off from the Rose of Versailles: André's Story
Flower Troupe, 2009
Tokyo Theater, Oct. 25th, 11 AM performance


Leads: Matobu Sei & Sakurano Ayane

[ TakaWiki ] [ SANSPO Stage Graph ]
[ Daily Sports Online, Set: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ]

The Rose of Versailles Side-Story: André

Maybe it was because I was expecting the worse. Maybe it was because I'm used to being diametrically opposed to 80% of the fandom. Maybe it was because I've simply slipped off the deep end, but... I really didn't think Andre-hen was that bad. Actually, er, I liked it more than Legend. *cough*

I think I begin to understand the appeal of BeruBara in Takarazuka. I've never paid a huge amount of attention to musumeyaku costumes, particularly the enormous hoop-skirts, but I think they lose something in the recordings. Also, I think the costuming department really went to town when they bought the fabric this time around (either that, or they were using the bottom of the barrel -- some of the pattern combinations were, er, very Japanese).

But let's do this systematically:

The Plot (by thread, not chronologically): )

What I Thought: )

~*~*~

Exciter!!

Read more... )

~*~*~

Overall, I liked both halves. I'm going to try to go and see it again next weekend. But I probably won't spend the money to buy the full-price DVD.
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
Kaze no Nishiki-e / Zorro
Snow Troupe, Tokyo Opening Night 2009

Stars: Mizu Natsuki & Shirahane Yuri

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Stage Graph ]

Kaze no Nishiki

Okay, so, to be honest, this wasn't the kind of Nihonmono revue that really appeals to me. I love the ones where they do the folk dances and folk songs, and there was some of that in here, but it was on the whole too cracky for me. There are some songs that really shouldn't be mutilated like that. *grin* Some things weren't meant to be jazzy, and I include "Soran" and "Sakura" in that category.

That said, I adored the opening sequence, with mischievous detective Tonami out to get poor, defenseless, manly, thief Mizu. <3 And I stared really hard at Sagiri Seina, trying to see how the chemistry was between herself and Yukigumi this first time she performed with them. Nothing felt awkward.

Not so fond of the Tom, sadly, though the choreography between her and Ugly-Mustache-Wearing-Mizu was interesting. I don't know much about Uesugi Kenshin or Takeda Shingen, but I like choreographed dance-battles.<3

Matsumoto-sensei seemed a bit unlucky. She had a big piece of hair caught in her eyelashes during one number, and then nearly fumbled her faux-towel thing during the other (though she made a very graceful save in the end, and didn't miss a beat).

The monk and cat-girl line dance just freaked me out.

Yep. That's all I'm going to say about the revue, for my own safety. ;)

~*~*~

Zorro

If it had ended with Kaze no Nishiki-e, I would have been safe and content with my decision to only see this show once, but.... Aaaagh. Zorro. Zorro. ...Zorro.

Mizu, Mizu, I'm sorry I haven't paid you much attention since you became top star; I don't care much for top stars. But I'm reminded now of why you and Yuuhi were my co-favorites for three years. SO HOT. And dancing. Dancing Mizu is all I really need to make me happy.

And I got it. Yay for mini-revues before and after the musical. I think I may have stopped breathing a few times when Mizu was dancing around in her Zorro outfit on the staircase. Ngh.

So! Plot! (With many warnings that this is based on one viewing, and my head was kind of muddled, because my brain kept repeating: 'Oh my god, oh my god.' I completely missed the Hamako storyline.)

Summary: )

What I Thought:

Yes please. Again.

All right, in all seriousness. )


So, revue was meh for me, but the musical was a!ma!zing! adventure fun, and I'll count the opening and finale of the musical as my heart's revue. ;)
ekusudei: (NBN - Tomu & Gun-chan)
My Dear New Orleans / a bientôt
Star Troupe Tokyo Performance, 2009

Top Stars: Aran Kei & Toono Asuka

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Stage Graph ]

My Dear New Orleans

Summary: )

What I Thought:

I wasn't sure how I would react to this musical. On the one hand, just about everyone I knew who had seen it cried through the entire thing. But on the other hand, I don't tend to cry easily during musicals... Yep, here be spoilers too )

~*~*~

a bientôt

I wasn't expecting to like this one much, I'll admit. I'm not keen on the traditional French revues, and the initial description sounded rather.... Well, but in the end there were certainly enough interesting scenes in there to make a happy Jen!

Chie the stage fairy♥ Mirrors♥ Chie and Haya♥ Kitty-chan's Kansai-ben♥ MORE gangster Shii (with extra, bonus, HOT, scowling Yuzurun. God, the faces she was making). THANK YOU, FUJII-SENSEI.

I really loved the scene where Asuka came on, wistful and sad for being too late to see Touko in her glory days, and then Chie Fairy used his magic to bring the theater to life again, and Touko back. Pair dance of love♥

And... the rest kind of fades from my memory already. XD Sorry.

~*~*~

Final count: Great musical, revue show with some scenes which will probably become legend in certain circles, and love. Lots and lots of Hoshigumi love.
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
It feels like ages ago now, but it's time to talk about OSK's 2009 "Haru no Odori" ("Spring Dance").

I had only ever seen one other live show with OSK members -- In '07 I saw "The Unlimited World", which also had performers from other groups. And somehow out of the 8 or 9 shows I've seen on DVD, none of them were Haru no Odori. Whenever I think to buy one I've never had quite enough cash.

But now I have, and I'm so very, very glad I did.♥

The theater was the Shochiku, in Osaka, as I believe it has been nearly every spring since the 1930s? This was the 6th "Haru no Odori" since their revival.

Haru no Odori
March 21st, 12:00 performance

Run, Sakurahiko! )

Run & Run )

~*~*~

I left the theater just literally BUZZING with energy, and wishing I could see it again. I wonder if this one will make it to DVD?
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
It feels like ages ago now, but it's time to talk about OSK's 2009 "Haru no Odori" ("Spring Dance").

I had only ever seen one other live show with OSK members -- In '07 I saw "The Unlimited World", which also had performers from other groups. And somehow out of the 8 or 9 shows I've seen on DVD, none of them were Haru no Odori. Whenever I think to buy one I've never had quite enough cash.

But now I have, and I'm so very, very glad I did.♥

The theater was the Shochiku, in Osaka, as I believe it has been nearly every spring since the 1930s? This was the 6th "Haru no Odori" since their revival.

Haru no Odori
March 21st, 12:00 performance

Run, Sakurahiko! )

Run & Run )

~*~*~

I left the theater just literally BUZZING with energy, and wishing I could see it again. I wonder if this one will make it to DVD?
ekusudei: (NBN - Tomu & Gun-chan)
King Solomon's Ring / La Mariposa
Snow Troupe, 2008

Stars: Mizu Natsuki & Shirahane Yuri

[ TakaWiki ] [ Stage Graph ]

I went into this one cautious but full of hope, because I have one of two reactions to Masatsuka-Sensei's shows (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13) ... I either love them to pieces or I find them very dull. However, in general he's my favorite Takarazuka playwright/director. Strangely, the ones that I love are his talky, political ones, so when everyone started talking about how dull the play was, I perked up. And I wasn't disappointed in the least.

But that's jumping ahead, because first is King Solomon's Ring. Ogita Kouichi is another playwright/director that I enjoy. Babylon was the first revue show that I really fell in love with, and Romantica Takarazuka '04 is also beautiful and exotic-feeling. But Solomon... Solomon was like those two revues mixed together on speed.

King Solomon's Ring: )

La Mariposa: )

So, I think... Solomon might improve on DVD, but I didn't care for it. Mariposa is probably not going to have many fans among the foreign fan base, and will probably be boring if you don't speak Japanese. But it pushed all of my buttons and I simply adored it.♥

As an addendum, Snow Troupe seems to almost have too many big otokoyaku stars floating about at the moment. They'll need to keep doing original Takarazuka shows if they want to give them all a chance to shine....

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