Jun 23

Justin’s Japan: Lincoln Center Festival Debuts Takarazuka, Noh

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Visit his Examiner.com Japanese culture page here for related stories.

From the roots of ancient Japan to the razzle-dazzle of Broadway, this summer’s Lincoln Center Festival will feature two very unique performances.

First up from July 13-17 is Kanze Noh Theatre. Known for its highly stylized masks and elegantly simple set featuring a single pine tree, this nearly 700-year-old dramatic form is one of the world’s oldest continuously performed genres of performance art and was recently designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. A descendent of the founder of Noh, Kiyokazu Kanze and his troupe will present five different Noh dramas as well as two Kyogen, the customary comic interlude in a Noh program.

July 20-24 serves up the North American premiere of Takarazuka CHICAGO, an all-female production of the classic 1975 Tony Award–winning musical with Kander and Ebb’s classic songs—sung entirely in Japanese with English supertitles—and Bob Fosse’s iconic choreography. Formed in 1914 to attract tourists to the hot springs town that bears its name, the Takarazuka Revue has grown into a cultural phenomenon in Japan, drawing a devoted fan base of 2.5 million theatergoers annually for its adaptations of classic Western and Japanese stories, movies, and plays. Whether viewed as a sly subversion of traditionally rigid gender roles or lavish, Las Vegas-style entertainment, Takarazuka is an unforgettable theatrical experience.

For more information, visit www.lincolncenterfestival.org.

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