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Marking four centuries since the death of William Shakespeare in 1616, the 101-year-old all-female Takarazuka Revue company is currently staging a new musical titled “Shakespeare: The Sky Filled With Eternal Words” at its Takarazuka Grand Theater in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, ahead of a Tokyo season starting next month.

Although the Bard’s plays are known the world over, and are performed more than any other writer’s, little is known of his personal life — especially his so-called lost years from 1578-82 and 1585-92. Speculation also abounds how the son of a glove-maker from a small country town rose to the pinnacle of English Renaissance theater with neither wealth, family connections nor a university education behind him?

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