As the curtain falls on 2019's theater scene in Japan, a continuing rise in the popularity of musicals now sees them clearly positioned at the center of the country's entertainment mainstream.

With theater long having been more of a personal pursuit here than the public forum for ideas it is in many Western cultures, since producers realized there was an appetite for musicals, and shows with music, they have steadily been responding to that demand.

So, after a Broadway or West End musical has played here with its original cast, it has now become routine for Japanese companies to present a follow-up version of the same production using Japanese actors.