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: (BAD has never been so GOOD)
Ahahahahah. What?

A new movie classic: The Singing Hitman (in 3D!)

Stay classy, Wao and Mahiro, stay classy.
ekusudei: (BAD has never been so GOOD)
Ahahahahah. What?

A new movie classic: The Singing Hitman (in 3D!)

Stay classy, Wao and Mahiro, stay classy.
ekusudei: (Default)
Lest it be lost in the excitement over Taka-chan's movie role (which is SO very yay):

This month, Mami is in a musical with... KAT-TUN. ^^;;;;;;;;; Tickets are, I believe, all sold out.
ekusudei: (Default)
Lest it be lost in the excitement over Taka-chan's movie role (which is SO very yay):

This month, Mami is in a musical with... KAT-TUN. ^^;;;;;;;;; Tickets are, I believe, all sold out.
ekusudei: (play without words)
Moving this one up the queue, because I told [livejournal.com profile] kyanited I'd review it, and if I don't soon, I'm going to forget. ;)

Yukinojou Henge
Snow Troupe, 1994-95

Leads: Ichiro Maki & Hanafusa Mari

[ TakaWiki Page ]

The World's Shortest Summary:

Read more... )

What I Thought:

A show with both the top star and the nibante in drag (kind of). Sign me up, please? Ichiro Maki makes an absolutely breathtaking onnagata, and her famous cheekbones are in fine form here. The role of Yukinojou was perfect for her, with a very interesting blend of femininity and masculinity. I never felt like I was watching a woman playing a man playing a woman... Yukinojou was definitely male. Oh, Takarazuka.... (*cue singing*) Takane Fubuki, on the other hand, had me blinking a few times, playing the very assertive Ohatsu. But I really liked Fubuki in a female role.

Hanafusa Mari in her first top star role. She seemed so terribly young and fragile, definitely both characteristics of the character she was playing. She didn't have a huge amount of stage time -- this is pre-legend Hana-chan! I liked her chemistry with Ichiro, and suddenly wish that Soragumi had done more Nihonmono. She was very pretty in her kimono. ...... On the other hand, Wao.... Wao was just ridiculously silly. *grins* There were so many young stars here! Wao Youka, Kouju Tatsuki, and Aran Kei were all lackeys and villagers and basically the slapstick-ish characters. Todoroki Yuu was 3-bante, and made a wonderfully roguish Yamitarou. Something about how she did her makeup for this show that I really enjoyed.

Read more... )
ekusudei: (play without words)
Moving this one up the queue, because I told [livejournal.com profile] kyanited I'd review it, and if I don't soon, I'm going to forget. ;)

Yukinojou Henge
Snow Troupe, 1994-95

Leads: Ichiro Maki & Hanafusa Mari

[ TakaWiki Page ]

The World's Shortest Summary:

Read more... )

What I Thought:

A show with both the top star and the nibante in drag (kind of). Sign me up, please? Ichiro Maki makes an absolutely breathtaking onnagata, and her famous cheekbones are in fine form here. The role of Yukinojou was perfect for her, with a very interesting blend of femininity and masculinity. I never felt like I was watching a woman playing a man playing a woman... Yukinojou was definitely male. Oh, Takarazuka.... (*cue singing*) Takane Fubuki, on the other hand, had me blinking a few times, playing the very assertive Ohatsu. But I really liked Fubuki in a female role.

Hanafusa Mari in her first top star role. She seemed so terribly young and fragile, definitely both characteristics of the character she was playing. She didn't have a huge amount of stage time -- this is pre-legend Hana-chan! I liked her chemistry with Ichiro, and suddenly wish that Soragumi had done more Nihonmono. She was very pretty in her kimono. ...... On the other hand, Wao.... Wao was just ridiculously silly. *grins* There were so many young stars here! Wao Youka, Kouju Tatsuki, and Aran Kei were all lackeys and villagers and basically the slapstick-ish characters. Todoroki Yuu was 3-bante, and made a wonderfully roguish Yamitarou. Something about how she did her makeup for this show that I really enjoyed.

Read more... )
ekusudei: (Default)
Yoka Wao Concert
Post-Zuka

[ TCA Shop ] [ Takarazuka Precious (photos) ]

Why isn't there a TakaWiki page for this show yet? If ever an OG performance was deserving of a TakaWiki page, this one is. *peers sharply at Soragumi/Wao fans and their pre-ordered copies*

I'm sure everyone has read a review of this concert already. I read several (check out [livejournal.com profile] babylonclo's and [livejournal.com profile] wao_wao's journals for fun squeeing and live reports), which is why I made puppy eyes at [livejournal.com profile] wao_wao to bring this one along with Kiss to the Flames. I really do like the Wao/Hana-chan combi, and I wanted to see these famous tangos. ;)

While not a huge fan of Taka-chan, I do like her off-stage personality. And also how adorably shy she can be at times. So I guess it came as no surprise that I really like post-Zuka Wao as... Wao. Without the otokoyaku makeup and hair. Just as herself. It was wonderful to see how many fans gathered to support her still. This is one woman who won't be fading into obscurity. And it's wonderful to know that she's still dancing with her partner.

As for the show itself... yay! I'm still not a huge fan of her voice, but I loved her dancing, and I loved her outfits, and I loved her backup dancers. The Q & A session with the remote control car was completely adorable. Definitely, definitely, definitely a DVD worth getting, I think, particularly if you're a Wao or Hana-chan fan, or just a fan of supporting OGs. :D

And in the possible chance that there's someone out there who hasn't seen Wao's new website, there are some pictures from the concert up there. Only, I'm not supposed to link to it without asking first. Only, it's just her name (yokawao) dot com. XD *feels slightly silly*

PS - The tangos? Oh. I was quite, quite, quite dead. I am such a whore for tangos, particularly ones with tricky moves.
ekusudei: (Default)
Yoka Wao Concert
Post-Zuka

[ TCA Shop ] [ Takarazuka Precious (photos) ]

Why isn't there a TakaWiki page for this show yet? If ever an OG performance was deserving of a TakaWiki page, this one is. *peers sharply at Soragumi/Wao fans and their pre-ordered copies*

I'm sure everyone has read a review of this concert already. I read several (check out [livejournal.com profile] babylonclo's and [livejournal.com profile] wao_wao's journals for fun squeeing and live reports), which is why I made puppy eyes at [livejournal.com profile] wao_wao to bring this one along with Kiss to the Flames. I really do like the Wao/Hana-chan combi, and I wanted to see these famous tangos. ;)

While not a huge fan of Taka-chan, I do like her off-stage personality. And also how adorably shy she can be at times. So I guess it came as no surprise that I really like post-Zuka Wao as... Wao. Without the otokoyaku makeup and hair. Just as herself. It was wonderful to see how many fans gathered to support her still. This is one woman who won't be fading into obscurity. And it's wonderful to know that she's still dancing with her partner.

As for the show itself... yay! I'm still not a huge fan of her voice, but I loved her dancing, and I loved her outfits, and I loved her backup dancers. The Q & A session with the remote control car was completely adorable. Definitely, definitely, definitely a DVD worth getting, I think, particularly if you're a Wao or Hana-chan fan, or just a fan of supporting OGs. :D

And in the possible chance that there's someone out there who hasn't seen Wao's new website, there are some pictures from the concert up there. Only, I'm not supposed to link to it without asking first. Only, it's just her name (yokawao) dot com. XD *feels slightly silly*

PS - The tangos? Oh. I was quite, quite, quite dead. I am such a whore for tangos, particularly ones with tricky moves.
ekusudei: (Default)
A Kiss To The Flames / Neo Voyage
Cosmos Troupe, 2005

Leads: Wao Youka & Hanafusa Mari

[ TakaWiki Page ] [ TCA Shop ]
[ Enak Sumire Style Stage Graph ]

A Kiss to the Flames:

I really liked this show. ....Hey, stop staggering around and clutching at your heart. Cynicism doesn't look well on you. Anyway, I really liked this show. [livejournal.com profile] wao_wao brought her copy over a couple of weekends ago, after patiently suffering through hoards of Tsukigumi shows for months. Both the story and the music were well done, and for a show with such a dark setting, there was something very bright and crisp about it. I think I spent about 15% of this show squealing over the return of villain Hatsukaze Midori. I've said it a million times, but I'll say it again: that woman plays villains better than anyone else I know. Due attention was also paid to the conscripting of musumeyaku into otokoyaku uniforms for large ensemble scenes. Wao Youka's character had two rather awesome wigs. I think I have a weak point for awesome wigs. Also, I think I'm coming to enjoy Wao better these days. Maybe the shock of Fersen is finally wearing off, two years later. Anyway, the costumes and wigs were all great. Even the roomie had to comment on Yamato Yuuga's cool dreds on one of his wanders into the kitchen. (Actually, as an aside, I don't think G has ever sat down and watched a sequence of Takarazuka for so long as he did for this show. It must have been Tani's dreds.) Itsuki Chihiro. Itsuki-san as a female gypsy. I- I didn't even recognize her. So many awesome bonus points to her. *hearts* The shadow effects they played with throughout this show were also incredibly awesome. They definitely had fun with them. I, ah, don't think anything needs to be said about the infamous Hanafusa Mari-in-a-blanket scene, right?

All in all, a really good show. The only problems I had with it were gypsies with forges? And Gaichi's floppy hat. ;) Ah, and perhaps not enough of those adorable gypsy boys. Yes, more gypsy boys is a must. :(

Neo Voyage:

A cool revue show. Anything with pirates has to be cool, of course! Although the Halloween scene was really... creepy. In a not good way. XD There is nothing quite so awesome as the combination of fedora, blues, gangsters, and angst. I'm still debating over the piano scenes. It was definitely pretty. Maybe not quite my style, although Piano Demon Gaichi was... cute. And to finish off this review: There's nothing quite like a Wao and Hana-chan pair dance, is there? I can definitely see why this revue is a favorite of a lot of my Soragumi fan friends!
ekusudei: (Default)
A Kiss To The Flames / Neo Voyage
Cosmos Troupe, 2005

Leads: Wao Youka & Hanafusa Mari

[ TakaWiki Page ] [ TCA Shop ]
[ Enak Sumire Style Stage Graph ]

A Kiss to the Flames:

I really liked this show. ....Hey, stop staggering around and clutching at your heart. Cynicism doesn't look well on you. Anyway, I really liked this show. [livejournal.com profile] wao_wao brought her copy over a couple of weekends ago, after patiently suffering through hoards of Tsukigumi shows for months. Both the story and the music were well done, and for a show with such a dark setting, there was something very bright and crisp about it. I think I spent about 15% of this show squealing over the return of villain Hatsukaze Midori. I've said it a million times, but I'll say it again: that woman plays villains better than anyone else I know. Due attention was also paid to the conscripting of musumeyaku into otokoyaku uniforms for large ensemble scenes. Wao Youka's character had two rather awesome wigs. I think I have a weak point for awesome wigs. Also, I think I'm coming to enjoy Wao better these days. Maybe the shock of Fersen is finally wearing off, two years later. Anyway, the costumes and wigs were all great. Even the roomie had to comment on Yamato Yuuga's cool dreds on one of his wanders into the kitchen. (Actually, as an aside, I don't think G has ever sat down and watched a sequence of Takarazuka for so long as he did for this show. It must have been Tani's dreds.) Itsuki Chihiro. Itsuki-san as a female gypsy. I- I didn't even recognize her. So many awesome bonus points to her. *hearts* The shadow effects they played with throughout this show were also incredibly awesome. They definitely had fun with them. I, ah, don't think anything needs to be said about the infamous Hanafusa Mari-in-a-blanket scene, right?

All in all, a really good show. The only problems I had with it were gypsies with forges? And Gaichi's floppy hat. ;) Ah, and perhaps not enough of those adorable gypsy boys. Yes, more gypsy boys is a must. :(

Neo Voyage:

A cool revue show. Anything with pirates has to be cool, of course! Although the Halloween scene was really... creepy. In a not good way. XD There is nothing quite so awesome as the combination of fedora, blues, gangsters, and angst. I'm still debating over the piano scenes. It was definitely pretty. Maybe not quite my style, although Piano Demon Gaichi was... cute. And to finish off this review: There's nothing quite like a Wao and Hana-chan pair dance, is there? I can definitely see why this revue is a favorite of a lot of my Soragumi fan friends!

"Musical"

Mar. 23rd, 2007 10:26 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
So, I bought this month's "Musical" magazine, for obvious reasons. Yay for Rika's Thoroughly Modern Millie being on the cover! Yay for how adorable she and Juri-pyon look! There was also an ad with Suzukaze Mayo's Marie-Antoinette (I vote Kaname in as next immortal, after Mao), pictures from Titanic (still not sure how much I dig Rika's wig for that show, but I suspect I just need to get used to it.), an ad for the 20th anniversary of Les Mis in Japan (guess who's listed as a Madame Thenardier? Hee... Setouchi Miyo! Guess who's listed as a Fantine? Nagisa Aki!). There's Rika and Juri-pyon interviews, there's Elisabeth Vienna Tour in Japan interviews, there's a PariSora article, there's a Sakura/Secret Hunter color ad, there's news on the upcoming Japanese production of Wicked, there's a Yukigumi Elisabeth article, Hays Code and Wao Concert color photos, there's an article on Oura Mizuki, one on Ranju Tomu's Never Sleep, there's an ad for Wataru and Mori Keaki's Damn Yankees, and then... at the very end, there's a couple of pages which don't interest me at all. But I think this was a good issue. Yes?

"Musical"

Mar. 23rd, 2007 10:26 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
So, I bought this month's "Musical" magazine, for obvious reasons. Yay for Rika's Thoroughly Modern Millie being on the cover! Yay for how adorable she and Juri-pyon look! There was also an ad with Suzukaze Mayo's Marie-Antoinette (I vote Kaname in as next immortal, after Mao), pictures from Titanic (still not sure how much I dig Rika's wig for that show, but I suspect I just need to get used to it.), an ad for the 20th anniversary of Les Mis in Japan (guess who's listed as a Madame Thenardier? Hee... Setouchi Miyo! Guess who's listed as a Fantine? Nagisa Aki!). There's Rika and Juri-pyon interviews, there's Elisabeth Vienna Tour in Japan interviews, there's a PariSora article, there's a Sakura/Secret Hunter color ad, there's news on the upcoming Japanese production of Wicked, there's a Yukigumi Elisabeth article, Hays Code and Wao Concert color photos, there's an article on Oura Mizuki, one on Ranju Tomu's Never Sleep, there's an ad for Wataru and Mori Keaki's Damn Yankees, and then... at the very end, there's a couple of pages which don't interest me at all. But I think this was a good issue. Yes?
ekusudei: (Default)
Comparing these two, I have to say... 1990 is less painful. And trust me, this is a frightening thing indeed.

Here's the info and song list for TMP 1990 "Hello! Wonderful Time"

Points in its favor include, as many agree, the cuteness of the baby 'siennes in tuxes. Also, Oura Mizuki and Marimo Eri's lovely dance to "New York, New York", Mori Keaki in a suit "42nd Street", and a version of "Leaning on a Lamppost" from Me and My Girl with Kodama Ai playing the policeman.

Points against include: lycra, bad singing, attempts at Beatles and David Bowie covers, and... well, too much to list, really.

TMP 1989 "That's Movie! II

It's two hours of Oscar-winning songs from the 30s to the 80s. And no one attempted to modify them to keys that these woman could actually sing in. I swear my ears started bleeding. Again with the lycra too, but mainly the problem was the singing, because... that's all they did. A few brief walk-across appearances of otokoyaku in dresses (Scarlet ahoy), but that's all we had to break up the monotony.

Points in its favor include.... Suzukaze Mayo singing "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun (Hey, I'm an 80s child, okay? I like this song; it makes me cry.), and... uh.... Utako's giant, dangly moon earing? ...... And also, um... well, uhm... It's Takarazuka? Actually, though, it was more than worth it for Kaname's version of "Take My Breath Away". It sure did. And also, the faces Fubuki was making at the baby doll in that one song were really priceless.


It appears that Marimo Eri was the current favorite back then. I think she had more appearances in each show than any of the other top stars. I can see why, too. She sang decently and danced well.
ekusudei: (Default)
Comparing these two, I have to say... 1990 is less painful. And trust me, this is a frightening thing indeed.

Here's the info and song list for TMP 1990 "Hello! Wonderful Time"

Points in its favor include, as many agree, the cuteness of the baby 'siennes in tuxes. Also, Oura Mizuki and Marimo Eri's lovely dance to "New York, New York", Mori Keaki in a suit "42nd Street", and a version of "Leaning on a Lamppost" from Me and My Girl with Kodama Ai playing the policeman.

Points against include: lycra, bad singing, attempts at Beatles and David Bowie covers, and... well, too much to list, really.

TMP 1989 "That's Movie! II

It's two hours of Oscar-winning songs from the 30s to the 80s. And no one attempted to modify them to keys that these woman could actually sing in. I swear my ears started bleeding. Again with the lycra too, but mainly the problem was the singing, because... that's all they did. A few brief walk-across appearances of otokoyaku in dresses (Scarlet ahoy), but that's all we had to break up the monotony.

Points in its favor include.... Suzukaze Mayo singing "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun (Hey, I'm an 80s child, okay? I like this song; it makes me cry.), and... uh.... Utako's giant, dangly moon earing? ...... And also, um... well, uhm... It's Takarazuka? Actually, though, it was more than worth it for Kaname's version of "Take My Breath Away". It sure did. And also, the faces Fubuki was making at the baby doll in that one song were really priceless.


It appears that Marimo Eri was the current favorite back then. I think she had more appearances in each show than any of the other top stars. I can see why, too. She sang decently and danced well.

TMP 1990

Sep. 21st, 2006 11:11 pm
ekusudei: (BAD has never been so GOOD)
OMG. )

What's that sound, you ask? It's Jen, crying over Takarazuka's Bowie cover. XD

TMP 1990

Sep. 21st, 2006 11:11 pm
ekusudei: (BAD has never been so GOOD)
OMG. )

What's that sound, you ask? It's Jen, crying over Takarazuka's Bowie cover. XD
ekusudei: (play without words)
TCA Special 1996 - Melodies and Memories

[ TakaWiki Page ]

Participants )


Wow. Wow. I think this is my favorite TCA special so far. It's just so different that it's really intriguing.

Act I

Instead of the usual parade down the stairs or something like that to introduce the troupes, they jump right into doing scenes from famous oriental-style Takarazuka musicals. Starlight People, a Shinsengumi musical originally done in the 70s by Yuki. Here Hana does it, with Maya Miki playing Okita Souji, also includes Shiraki Ayaka, Takane Fubuki, and Makoto Tsubasa. Eternal Tale stars Kuze, Hanafusa, and Todoroki. Red Flowers Falling in Menam tells the story of a Japanese ambassador (Yamada: Asaji Saki) to Shamuro, other cast includes Kazahana Mai, Aika Mire, Shibuki Jun, Shizuki Asato, and Wataru Kozuki. The old favorite, Lover's Suicide shows up again, with Ichiro Maki and Hanafusa Mari playing the lovers, also includes Minoru Kou, Kouju Tatsuki (singing "Kono Yo ni Tada Hitotsu"), and Kaikyou Hiroki.

Act II

We open with a collection of songs from Western musicals, including Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma, West Side Story, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Dean, songs from Kurt Weill, Maury Yeston, and Cole Porter. A medley of Offenbach songs leads us into recent Takarazuka favorites, including a La Nostalgie featuring every sexy otokoyaku to ever exist, EVER. Perhaps the most bizzarre is Ichiro Maki singing "Watashi Dake ni" in her otokoyaku voice. 0.o And then we end with the parade to "Takarazuka Forever."

What I Thought:

Act I was gorgeous and full of angst. Non-chan (Kuze Seika) and Mariko-chan's (Asaji Saki) characters had me in tears. Beautifully, beautifully done. It was interesting to see another version of Lover's Suicide. Ichiro and Hana played it much more desperate than Saeko and Kurara did in the 2004 special, and I can't decide which I like more. Oddly enough, I think I liked Hakushou Kairi's version of "Kono Yo" more than Taatan's, though Taatan's was also gorgeous.

Act II was a lot of fun. For me the best part was the Western musical numbers, and I was absolutely cracking up during The Sound of Music. The South Pacific songs had me all kinds of amused -- ah, Japanese women cross-dressing as WWII American navy men.... I was so very glad I wasn't forced to listen yet again to too many "classic" Takarazuka songs, which they seem to love pulling out for the TCA specials.

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