TAIPEI – The all-woman Takarazuka Revue will stage a series of performances in Taiwan in August, the troupe’s second appearance before audiences there.
The show will run from Aug. 8 to 16 at the National Theater in Taipei.
Takarazuka Revue Chairman Koichi Kobayashi, whose grandfather founded the company early last century, told reporters in Taipei in January that the revue received an overwhelming number of requests to return following their first visit there in April 2013.
While the 2013 production had three parts, the upcoming production will have two. Both are from the troupe’s popular repertoire of romantic musicals: “The Rose of Versailles” and “Takarazuka Fantasia.”
Shinji Ueda, director of “The Rose of Versailles,” said he was impressed by the passion of the audiences the last time he was in Taiwan and hopes the second tour will allow more Taiwanese to appreciate Japanese culture.
As “The Rose of Versailles” has gone through several revisions over the years, Ueda said he is thinking of making more changes for the upcoming performances as well but has yet to decide exactly how it will be different.
Daichi Inaba, the writer and director of “Takarazuka Fantasia,” said it is possible to add some Taiwanese melodies to the production, noting that in 2013 they also presented a new segment written specifically for that engagement.
This year, the 200-minute-long show will feature 40 of the company’s top stars of the Flower Troupe, led by Rio Asumi, who plays the male lead, and Maria Kano.
The August engagement will be the second overseas performance for the Flower Troupe and the first for Asumi.
Asumi, who made her debut in 2003, said the company has received many letters from Taiwanese fans since their first visit in 2013.
“We will practice extra hard before we present our best performances in August,” she said.
After it was born in 1913, Takarazuka Revue presented its first performance in 1914 and the dance company marked its centennial last July. The all-women group made its first overseas tour in 1938 and has appeared 25 times in 18 countries and territories, including China and Hong Kong.
The company, based in Hyogo Prefecture, is now targeting the rapidly growing Asian market as Japan’s almost stagnant population means it can no longer expect to significantly increase the number of new fans at home.
Kobayashi said the troupe will focus on the Asian market for the time being.
It will stage a total of 14 shows during the upcoming tour to Taiwan.
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