Takarazuka

Chiyoda-ku
Theater

Attending a play at the newly rebuilt Kabuki-za theater (4-12-15 Ginza) without some familiarity with Japan’s history or language is a bit like going to Shakespeare’s Globe in London without speaking English. With its all-male casts, period sets and costumes, and five-hour running times, Kabuki can be daunting to foreign audiences. (Try a single-act ticket and the audio guide.) Even more impenetrable are the 600-year-old masked theater of Noh and the Osaka-based puppet theater Bunraku. But there’s one form of Japanese theater that fills more seats every week than Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku combined: the Takarazuka Revue. The revue, which debuted in 1913, features all-female casts in extravagant costumes on elaborate sets performing high-energy musical versions of recent Western cinema hits such as Ocean’s Eleven and The King’s Speech, as well as classics of the silver screen and Broadway—Casablanca, Chicago—and European stage. Often compared with Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes performances, it’s showbiz razzmatazz theater (or kitsch) that enthusiasts should get a kick out of. Takarazuka shows play almost daily in Tokyo. Plan ahead: Tickets (for dedicated theaters seating 2,000) typically sell out in minutes.

Takarazuka
1-1-3 YurakuchoTokyo, Japan

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