Monday, July 6, 2015

TAKARADA-ZA MUSICAL HITS CHIYODA! Akira Takarada Returns to the Japanese Stage!

A poster advertising Takarada-za Musical hangs in Uchisaiwaicho Hall in Chiyoda, Tokyo. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Sunday, July 5, I made my way to Uchisaiwaicho Hall in Chiyoda, Tokyo, to take in a performance of Takarada-za Musical, which proved to be a much different stage performance from what I am used to.

Toho star Akira Takarada sings his heart out during a performance of Takarada-za Musical. Photo by Brett Homenick.

As the name would suggest, it is large about the production's star, Mr. Akira Takarada. The first half of the performance was mostly a live stage reading in which Takarada-san narrated his early biography (covering such life events as growing up in China during World War II and getting his start as a Toho New Face), with his fellow cast members portraying some of the characters in Takarada-san's story. Most of the narration was accompanied by music, and occasionally the characters would break out into song.

After an intermission, the cast took turns singing various songs from around the world (including China and the United States), making this portion of the performance more of a traditional musical, although it was not part of any overarching narrative.

As I mentioned earlier, I've never seen a performance quite like this before, but it was certainly enjoyable to see. The songs toward the end were largely familiar (two Frank Sinatra songs were part of the set), but even those that were new were a lot of fun.

Overall, it was a great way to spend a Sunday!

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