Tokyo fans thrill to 'Michaelism'

May 14, 2014

Tokyo fans thrill to 'Michaelism'

In England in 1999, after the huge success of the ABBA-songs show “Mamma Mia,” the theater scene became awash with “jukebox musicals.” From 2002′s reasonably successful Queen-based “We Will Rock You” and “Taboo,” which drew on the music of Boy George/Culture Club, to the ...

Surrender yourself to 'Fuerza Bruta' fun

May 7, 2014

Surrender yourself to 'Fuerza Bruta' fun

Standing around with a drink in your hand as if you were on the dance floor of a club might not be a good idea at a Diqui James production. In “Fuerza Bruta,” which premiered in 2005 and continues its evolution in Tokyo this ...

Chasing a Phantom of success

Mar 26, 2014

Chasing a Phantom of success

Based on “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra,” a 1911 novel by the French author of detective fiction, Gaston Leroux, and transformed into a musical composed, co-written and produced by Englishman Andrew Lloyd Webber (now Baron Lloyd-Webber), “The Phantom of the Opera” was first produced in ...

Super Kabuki 'spells fun'

Mar 12, 2014

Super Kabuki 'spells fun'

Just like the many native English-speakers who have difficulty understanding the language and classical references in the works of William Shakespeare, so Japanese people generally feel a sense of distance from kabuki, as though it were a foreign language. However, Ennosuke Ichikawa III, who ...

NNTT debut peers behind the masks of 'Condemned' Sartre family

Feb 19, 2014

NNTT debut peers behind the masks of 'Condemned' Sartre family

Until Japan was opened to the West in the mid-19th century, its theater culture mainly comprised traditional forms such as kabuki, comic kyōgen, bunraku (puppet theater) and noh. Afterward, once European acting styles were thrown into the mix, there emerged a theater genre known ...

Kushida's 'Flapper' comes roaring back

Feb 12, 2014

Kushida's 'Flapper' comes roaring back

“Young people these days won’t be too familiar with the term the Roaring Twenties, but the 1920s still hold interest as a period. It was a time of changing values, not only in the United States, but in Europe: Dadaism, Cubism, Expressionism and other ...

The Onodera enigma

Jan 22, 2014

The Onodera enigma

The name of the late great Pina Bausch’s acclaimed Tanztheater in the German city of Wuppertal may translate as “Dancetheater,” but its works often owe more to abstract emotional action and snatched dialogue than to dance. Over in London, meanwhile, Simon McBurney’s Complicite company ...

One year on from arts world 'disaster'

Dec 4, 2013

One year on from arts world 'disaster'

It’s Oct. 27 and the setting sun fades to darkness. A long line of people begins to form around Tsukiji Honganji Temple next to the world-famous fish market in central Tokyo. The scene recalls what happened there last year on Dec. 27, the funeral ...

Back to Back Theatre reveals the elephant in the room

Nov 27, 2013

Back to Back Theatre reveals the elephant in the room

Festival/Tokyo 13, this year’s edition of the annual stage-arts festival, started Nov. 9. A unique feature of the festival’s program is its many presentations that encourage audience participation, be it leading them around the streets following a certain theme, or guiding them via social ...

Kichiemon Nakamura II : For the love of 'Chushingura'

Nov 27, 2013

Kichiemon Nakamura II : For the love of 'Chushingura'

As December draws near, the streets are decorated with Christmas ornaments and in Japan, concerts of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony are held all over the nation. In addition to these Western-inspired traditions, there is a made-in-Japan December tradition that has been held since the 18th ...