Takurazuka- The Flashiest Show on Earth

This season’s hottest play is the Takarazuka’s rendition of Romeo & Juliet. We were lucky enough to get tickets to go- they sold out in under twelve hours!

The long-awaited day has arrived. Nicky and I went with Erin to see a well-known Japanese peculiarity and national sensation- Takarazuka.

For those that don’t know Takarazuka, you can imagine the more traditional art form of Kabuki, but now, with only female actors. Now, imagine sequins, and feathers, an obligatory can-can dance, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and you have one of the craziest, fantastic shows I have ever seen.

Takarazuka takes its name from the town it started in, Takarazuka, of Hyogo prefecture, in 1913. The troupe’s production style is much like Broadway, taking many western plays (An Officer and A Gentleman, For Whom the Bell Tolls) and adapting them into their own lavish style. This season’s most long-awaited play was Romeo and Juliet, a play they haven’t done since 2007. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, going in, but I am so happy I went.

I had never seen a live, theatrical performance of Romeo and Juliet before, and from my days in the ninth grade, I seem to remember it being quite cliche (even though it was where those cliches were born from). However, I was absolutely stunned to see it live, and in the manner that Takarazuka did it. Throughout the entire play (which had been turned into a musical) there were two characters in particular that I fell in love with. Love and Death. They had no dialog. They only danced, or lurked around the characters in their more intense moments, and at times, Death would be beaten by Love, but.... ‘he’ won in the end- when he was the one disguised as the apothecary that gave Romeo his poison. 

It was a gorgeous play, and very moving- however, no show can end without a can-can.... so.... after the orchestra had calmed the final scene to silence, suddenly a disco ball fell, and forty women in 40s style can-can costumes came out to dance in a line and giggle. It was disconcerting for a moment, until we realized that they had put their famed dance into the final bow of the production.

I loved it so much, and funds willing, I would jump at the chance to go to another one.